RAI secures Olympic coverage

Sky Italia gets soccer World Cup

MILAN — Italo pubcaster RAI has finally reached a deal to buy the rights for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and 2012 London Olympics from satellite TV operator Sky Italia, it was announced Thursday.

In turn, RAI will offer Sky Italia the TV rights to the soccer World Cups in 2010 and 2014.

Under the agreement, RAI will transmit a total of 315 hours of Olympics, while Sky will broadcast World Cup soccer on seven of its channels.

The deal was accepted by RAI’s governing committee after a close vote. One panel member, Angelo Maria Petroni, slated the deal, saying that the Olympics was a poor prize to get for giving away the soccer World Cup.

But his center-left opponents argued that the move was good news for RAI. They noted that its great Italo terrestrial TV rival Mediaset, which is controlled by premier Silvio Berlusconi, saw advertising revenues suffer in 2006 when it lost out on two major sporting events — the Winter Olympics in Turin and the soccer World Cup — to the pubcaster.

Sky Italia secured the TV rights for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Olympic Games in a deal with the International Olympic Committee in February this year.