At the end of January, football clubs can no longer buy new players until the next season. During the final days and hours of the transfer window, multi-million pound deals are agreed as managers bluff and counter-bluff. Similar scenarios were being played out across the football world and desirable players were putting their signatures to contracts which will make them multi-millionaires, year in, year out.
Major team games in America have different systems, but the rewards for top players are equally considerable.
Formula One presents itself as a highly professional sport, yet a driver as talented as Kamui Kobayashi will be driving a Caterham for free. Surely the difference between a professional and an amateur is that a professional is paid.
The difference between a street performer, no matter how talented, and a professional, no matter how naff, is that one passes round the hat and the other signs a contract. Some drivers in F1 are passing round the hat.
A Grand Prix grid is supposed to be the 22 best drivers in the world. Any football club has more than 22 players being paid. That is the essential thing, they are paid. There are hundreds of professional clubs, most of which turn a profit.
When Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado lost their seats, nobody thought that we were bidding them farewell, we just waited to see where they would take their money and who would be out of a drive as a result.
A footballer keeps his place on the team by performance. If a rival bids for his place it is because the rival is perceived to be better, not wealthier.
There are F1 drivers who only get paid from the sponsorship they bring to a team. They have to find their own salaries.
I would dearly love to play King Lear for the Royal National Theatre, but I could not buy the role. No matter how much money I could muster, I would hit a brick wall called integrity. You can also bet that audiences would stay away.
No sport does glitz better than Formula One, but behind all the hype there are serious issues. Despite its success on the track, Lotus has incurred massive debts. It became news when Sauber paid off its electricity bill, which is a fairly basic expenditure for any company.
There has never been a more shrewd spotter of talent than Peter Sauber, but his signing of Adrian Sutil cannot be unconnected to the sponsorship Sutil can bring.
I am not saying that Sutil, Perez and Maldonado are not fine drivers. They have played the game as it is and have made the right choice of manager. It is the manager who mainly deals with sponsors.
It is not strictly fair to compare a football club to an F1 team since, in football, the visible players are uppermost. In Formula One there are hundreds of people involved in putting two cars on a grid maybe twenty times a year.
There are other factors, one of which is that CVC Capital Partners takes an enormous slice of revenue to the benefit of its investors. In 2012, that slice was 550 million pounds. That was money taken from the sport without a penny being returned.
That equates to fifty million pounds per team, which is almost the total budget for some teams. The rights to Formula One were sold by the FIA for about half what CVC makes per annum.
This is not a criticism of CVC, which exists to do the best it can for its investors, it is a criticism of the fabric of Formula One which allowed it to happen.
A football club also has control over, and revenue from, the advertising billboards around its ground. That was hived off in Formula One.
A club has control over its own hospitality suites. Arsenal, which has a new stadium, can wine and dine up to 5,000 corporate guests at a match.
Then there is the income from replica team strip which is marked up at an outrageous level. I have experience in this field and my guess is that there is a 600 per cent mark up, minimum. When David Beckham signed for Real Madrid, it was reckoned that his huge transfer fee would be covered from the sale of shirts to the gullible.