I'm not talking about the beer, but the man behind the brand. At least, the bloke that owns it. My debut first-hand experience with the IPL this year has blown my mind as to how spectators can really be given value for money in Indian sporting stadiums. I must admit I come from the school that propagates the "sport must be front and center" line of thought. Anyone who has seen a live sporting event in Australia will understand this acutely. Australia is a place where entertainment is provided by the warriors on the park and everything else is left to the drinking holes behind the stadium or before/after the game.
The first Royal Challengers Bangalore match of IPL6 at the Chinnaswamy stadium was my first experience with American-style sports entertainment, outside of the US. I love my cricket. I mean, the technical, dour aspects of the game. I could watch a test match, alone in a stadium, if I wasn't so afraid of looking like a loner! Yet, the Chinnaswamy's exhibition of criketainment was something from a different planet.
I haven't been to other IPL6 venues this year, but from what I can see on TV, they don't come close to the RCB, Chinnaswamy experience. The Chinnaswamy married glitz, glam and the wonderful game in a heady cocktail of irresistible entertainment.
There wasn't one identifiable element that elevated the event above all others. It wasn't just the DJ. It wasn't just the sea of red. It wasn't just the nightclub like ambience. It wasn't just the traditional dancers showing up the cheerleaders. It was all of these things rounded off with massive Chris Gayle sixes, a dollop of Virat Kohli elegance and a sprinkling of the mastery that only one Sachin Tendulkar can provide at the crease.
Mallya's airline might have crashed. His personal fortunes may be in decline. But, when it comes to selling good times, this bloke certainly can still teach his disciples and naysayers a thing or three.
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