The season opener was mere moments away when the Washington Redskins cheerleaders marched to mid-field to perform a routine that brought the crowd--draped in red and yellow team colors--to its feet.
No, it wasn't a late-summer night at Maryland's FedEx Field, but rather a sweltering April evening in Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium and the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League (IPL), cricket's first foray, from a business prospective, into the major leagues.
The 2008 match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore (the team's owner, Vijay Mallya's United Breweries, hired the cheerleaders for four games) and the Kolkata Knight Riders (co-owned by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan) was seen by 40,000 spectators, 14.4 million TV viewers in India and millions more watching on the eight networks that syndicated coverage across the globe.
Welcome to the hottest sports league in the world.
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