Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has "hinted" the Olympic Games could be broadcast on pay-per-view Sky TV in future. Hunt revealed that the government will "launch a review" into whether the Olympics should stay on free-to-air TV. The government recently ignored Labour's plans for a review of "listed events" – known as the "crown jewels of sport" and including the World Cup, the FA Cup final and the Olympics. However, Hunt said that he will revisit the issue "after the digital switchover," which concludes later this year. The BBC has been awarded the rights to broadcast the Olympics until '20, but Sky "would be able to bid for subsequent Games if the status of the Games changes" (London INDEPENDENT, 7/24).
NOT FROM THESE PARTS: In London, Charles Sale noted Canadian Gary Hall will be sharing the in-venue commentary with Britain’s Geoff Wightman, an experienced Diamond League broadcaster, after their appointment by Int'l Association of Athletics Federations VP Bob Hersh. This has caused "considerable ructions" between the IAAF and LOCOG, "who understandably wanted two British voices to explain the athletics action." However, despite LOCOG’s appeals to the IAAF, backed up by other sports federations, Hersh "would not budge from his decision." An athletics insider said, "There have been a lot of tense discussions about the stadium commentary. A North American accent is going to sound very strange in a Stratford Olympic Stadium, especially when there are so many British commentators who could do the job" (DAILY MAIL, 7/23).
EARLY RECORD SETTING: The London TELEGRAPH reported Big Ben will chime more than 40 times between 8:12am and 8:15am GMT Friday as part of the London 2012 Festival. It has been arranged by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed, for his "Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes." Creed "aims to set a world record for the most number of bells rung simultaneously" (TELEGRAPH, 7/24).