With the inauguration taking place yesterday, hope and optimism throughout the majority of the American populace are at their highest levels in a decade. Despite the economy going Chernobyl, a tremendous lack of fresh water that will probably initiate the next Civil War and the impending doom of the black abalone and numerous other obscure creatures, people are pretty stoked on life right now. The general consensus seems to be that we are headed for better times. However, with all of the monetary strife and rampant bankruptcy, what’s going to happen to us sports fans? Will the Pistons shut their doors with the loss of the entire Detroit manufacturing complex? Will Rasheed Wallace be forced to couch surf across the country, eventually ending up getting blunted in a tent on my roof?

I think not. In fact, life as a sports fan is looking better than it has in quite some time. I’ve harped on the lack of respect fans get from their favorite franchises – 20 dollar beers and 100,000 dollar season tickets are a slap in the face to the people who are the sole source of income for professional sports. I’ve always wanted to see sports fans flex their consumer muscles. It’s unfortunate that it took the financiapocalypse for it to happen, but fanatics across the country are no longer wildly blowing their money on whatever bullshit their favorite teams sling their way.

Instead, the sports world is beginning to feel the aftershock of everyone’s lightened wallets. When regular beer commercial-type dudes have to decide between paying the bills or Warriors tickets, even seeing Stephen Jackson with a Beretta in his waistband on the court couldn’t convince someone to spring for the nosebleeds. As sports franchises start to see a hit to their bottom line – they are businesses, after all – they will begin to appreciate and thus take care of their fans more.

Take ESPN, for example. While they used to be epic thanks to heaps and heaps of coverage of everything across the sports spectrum, they’ve distilled their programming to the same news topics repeated for weeks on end and 12 hours of Sportscenter a day. ESPN360.com is shooting out tons of great games, and it’s free if you’re on campus (you can also first sign into the off-campus proxy through the library website if it doesn’t work for you off-campus). With a free site dedicated to organizing NBA fan blogs just posted today, ESPN might be finally starting to hook their fans up with some actual perks, and that mentality is beginning to drift its way through the whole sporting world.

Monetary bonuses aside, things really are looking good for fans. We’ve got a President who already dropped some hammers on the hellish circus that is the BCS. Skateboarders are going apeshit in fresh backyard pools around the country thanks to searching out newly foreclosed properties on Google Earth. Formula One is going back to slick tires this year, and this year’s races should hopefully displace a little bit of the pervasive NASCAR coverage on Speed Channel. We’ve also got one of the wildest Super Bowl match-ups in history coming up in a couple weeks, which means I might actually watch it. Most importantly, I’m convinced that the Celtics are going to implode despite their current win streak. Aforementioned rooftop activities aside, who could ask for a greater gift? Looks like things really are getting good for us fans.