DAS3,148 posts since 10 Apr 2001
Always struck me as an odd one, it’s a sport Sky has hardly any rights to. Presumably the thinking was that cycling fans would be unlikely to already have Sky and were worth advertising to.

It was James Murdoch's baby, he's a keen cyclist:
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/jul/23/james-murdoch-sky-tour-de-france


Well... sort of... (“Sky's link with cycling dates back to 2008, when the broadcaster was searching for a sport on which it could have a wide-ranging impact through sponsorship... Robert Tansey, who chairs Team Sky, says: "If the question is whether we did this because James is a cycling fan, then the answer is no.")

The genius was finding a sport that had headroom to grow in popularity and adoption (i.e. it wasn’t something you’d talk about at the pub like football), easy access for people to get involved (low cost, little expertise required, easy to get the equipment) and potential to grow at a national level with funding. Sky owned and essentially backed the team being built rather than just being a straight sponsor.

I think it’s been on the cards a fair while - easy to assume it’s down to Comcast and/or drug controversies, but these things always move on, and 10 years is a lengthy period. I suspect that part of the thinking behind Ocean Rescue being set up a couple of years ago is to become a natural successor - similar hallmarks around growing awareness and adoption, easy access and a national platform?