A new National Football League champion is recently crowned, major league baseball begins its annual rite of spring training with the Los Angeles Dodgers replacing the once mighty New York Yankees with the largest ever payroll, and the National Basketball Association teams scramble to make the playoffs and replace the Miami Heat as champs.
Oh, and professional hockey starts a shortened season after a lockout left ice rinks empty for months.
Okay sports fans, which one of these four major athletic endeavors is better than the others when it comes to weathering the latest economic stumble? Which one has proven to be recession-proof? Which sport have fans been attending even as the price of gas keeps rising and falling like an R.A. Dickey knuckleball?
(We're focusing on the four most popular pro sports in the U.S. and soccer — or football to its legion of worldwide fans — didn't make the cut.)
Did you say pro football? Seems like the logical answer. TV ratings for the NFL are through the roof and it has America's team (Dallas Cowboys), as well has having NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell making some $30 million last year, so the sport must be rolling in dough. But head to the showers on a late penalty call if you guessed the NFL.
Baseball? Nope, you struck out here as well, despite Seattle Mariner pitcher Felix Hernandez becoming the highest paid pitcher in baseball with a 10-year, $175 million contract, and the Dodgers being bought for more than $2 billion. How about pro basketball, with Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard and their mega-contract deals? You missed the three point shot and the entire backboard on this one.