In Italy, Sky Italia bought the rights to Vancouver 2010 and the 2012 Games for some £90 million, on condition that it sub-licensed a minimum number of hours of coverage to the free-to-air television state broadcaster RAI. RAI will pay Sky £24.2 million for a total of 315 hours of coverage of the two events. (The BBC broadcast 160 hours of Vancouver; NBC are offering Americans 272 hours of London) Sky Italia, RAI, and Berlusconi's Mediaset are in a continuing legal battle over live football coverage.
More likely, the Sky approach here may have been based on their Australian experience, where Foxtel took advantage of a battle between free-to-air channels. They partnered with the Nine Network to win the 2010/2012 rights, biffing the Seven channel who had been Australia's Olympic broadcaster since 1992. Nine gets more than 300 hours of live coverage from London. Foxtel are promising eight channels of coverage, plus "every Gold Medal live", and have an app for subscribers. And, yes, Rupert Murdoch is trying to win a bigger stake in Foxtel and Fox Sports.
Nonetheless, before we endorse the BBC triumph, it would be sensible to KNOW there was a challenge. And anyway, the BBC's Charter only runs to 2016, doesn't it ?