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Column: Supposed Recession Fails To Affect Sports World

This story was written by Devon Roehrich, Dakota Student


Yes, the stock market has been a roller coaster in recent months, treating IRAs and 401ks like ping-pong balls flying all over the table. Congress's approval ratings have been absolutely pathetic, and it seems like every other day a mortgage/lending/automobile company is being bailed out with taxpayer money.But there is an industry that people have never stopped spending money on:sports. You have to have it. Yeah, food is important. Shelter, clothes, monetary resources are all necessities. But a guy/girl has got to have his/her sports fix, and the 24/7 nature of the sports world has never been this strong.

Free agency is like hunting season. The owners bring out their guns (checkbooks) and shoot for the highest grade of meat (players). The Yankees are offering $140 million for Sabathia, and the Ovechkin just signed for $124 million and 13 years.Revenues are at an all-time high in all four major North American sports, and the NFL ticket is the hottest entertainment gig around. Rookie contracts keep exploding, and signing bonuses are starting to mimic third-world countries' governmental budgets. It is absolutely nuts how recession-proof some sports are.But no sport is as ironclad as baseball. The worst defensive left-fielder in baseball, Manny Ramirez, has been offered a contract stipulated for $27.5 million a year. That is more than the best player on the planet (A-Rod) makes a year, and more than the entire Florida Marlins roster made in 2008.Out of the four major sports, baseball is the most dependent on gate revenues. With traveling expenses rocketing up every day, families are more relegated to stay home and spend their money on relatively cheaper entertainment. Cheapest American family tradition: Major League Baseball.But it is the dichotomy of sports: The fans' perceptions and the teams' realities -- that provides the perfect escape. Taking a flight across the country will not let the person forget about how many thousands they just lost in the market. Going out to eat will just make one wish they had gone to the grocery store to spend the forty bucks instead.

Sports are unbelievably unique. Look at the New York Jets' ticket situation for their new stadium. They are selling personal seat licenses -- just theright to have season tickets -- and they are still going like hotcakes.Sports also have large ties to the networks that run them. With ratings for games dominating on each network, these leagues are able to garner the highest advertising fees (just think about the Super Bowl prices). ESPN offered $125 million a year just to broadcast four BCS games! Money talks, and too often the broadcasters listen with ridiculously open pockets.For four people to spend an afternoon at an NFL game, it will cost almost $400 by the time they leave. The sports market is not about to let poorly managed credit decisions make dents in their bottom lines. Put simply, sports are the mechanism people use to relax and get lost in their fantasies, emotionally involving themselves in the player or team to carry out their dreams.Everyone has dreams, and amazingly, sports allow them to be a reality.

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