"The only way the Yankees and the rest of the sports world is insulated is that they have a lot of long-term contracts, mostly in the media area, mostly long-term television contracts," professor Zimbalist said.
Sports television programming may turn out to be one winner in the current economic crisis. As Americans save more and more money, fans in need of their sports fix could turn to more affordable options such as watching games on TV.
"Americans want their entertainment and sports almost no matter what," Brennan said, predicting TV ratings will go up as fans buy fewer tickets.
But that is just one slimmer of good news at a scary time for the sports world. Some pro sports franchises, particularly in the NHL, will likely move and possibly even fold completely, Zimbalist predicted.
Wealthy team owners, he said, will have to be more cautious about signing contracts after their own portfolios were decimated when stocks plummeted on Wall Street during the past year.
But record-setting deals like Haynesworth's seem anything but cautious.
"It just boggles the mind," Brennan said. "It shows these owners have almost limitless resources."
Even Haynesworth himself was shocked by the size of the Redskins' offer.
"I was like, 'You said what?'" he said. "I was just astounded."
It's safe to say he wasn't the only one.