NBC limited its potential for ad revenue in a number of ways, industry analysts say. To provide a measure of exclusivity for its TV advertisers, it chose not to make available live video for some of the Games' highest-profile events. The network failed to distribute its videos widely on other sites, which would have boosted its audience.

In contrast, here's what Yahoo did, via the Times:

On Wednesday, for example, Yahoo's Olympics blog linked to two Web sites that were showing BBC video of Usain Bolt's 200-meter race, hours before NBC showed it on television and placed it on its Web site. Yahoo, which added a gold medal to its logo for the duration of the Games, used the power of its popular home page to push visitors to a special mini-site devoted to the Olympics.

Though the Olympics have been hailed as evidence of the enduring power of broadcast television — could a cable network have penetrated so many homes? — they may also go down in history as a textbook case of how to blow a huge opportunity online.