How to watch the 2021 Summer Olympics

It’s okay be a strange summer Olympics. The Tokyo 2020 games are still referred to as the Tokyo 2020 games because they have been delayed for a year due to the pandemic. And even if the frantic efforts organizers assured that the Olympics would indeed take place this time, officials finally forbidden to fans to attend. Then there is the controversial disqualifications, weird cardboard beds in the Olympic Village, and the fact that some athletes have already had to to give up after testing positive for Covid.

In case things aren’t complicated enough, figuring out how to watch the Olympics is a task in itself. The first thing to note is that the events will take place in Tokyo, which is 13 hours ahead of US Eastern Time, 2:00 PM Central Time, 3:00 PM UTC Time. Rockies and 4 p.m. Pacific time. Many events will take place early in the morning in the United States, which means you might end up seeing some spoilers. If this worries you, be prepared to turn off notifications and avoid social media. (Or go to scorched earth and just kill your notifications absolutely.)

The Olympics start this Friday July 23. (Technically, there are a few events before the Opening Ceremony, but we’ll get to that in a minute.) The games will run daily for a little over two weeks, with the closing ceremony of August 8.

If you have cable or an over-the-air antenna, you can watch everything live on NBC (Again the only American distributor of the games). You can also stream on NBC olympic site or NBC Sports application, although these require a paid account to view everything. Cable coverage will extend to several NBC channels, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympic Channel, CNBC and Golf Channel. Spanish coverage is on Telemundo and Universo.

If you prefer streaming, one option is NBC Peacock streaming service. This requires an account, but there is a free option if you are just interested in the great moments. Paid tiers start at $ 5 per month (with ads) or $ 10 per month (with fewer ads). You can also watch the matches on Hulu premium Hulu + Live TV plan. (Another paid service is $ 65 per month.)

NBC channels are also available on services such as Fubo (which you can add on Roku). It also costs $ 65 per month, but there is a 7-day free trial for new subscribers. It’s not ideal, but if you remember to cancel on time, it’s a week of free games. (Then you can just re-register with a different email address.)

If you have a Roku device, an integrated Olympics scoreboard is available directly from the main screen, titled “Tokyo 2020 Olympics”. Check back here for the highlights or add channels like NBC Sports, Peacock, AT&T TV and Fubo. (These channels will require existing accounts, however.) Here is more on how to navigate Roku’s Olympic offerings.

Read on for the exact timeline for some of the biggest events. NBC has yet to say when it will replay most of the events, so these are all live times. Additionally, times are subject to change as the games unfold. You can find the full program of events on official website of the Olympic Games. For all Eastern Time events, use NBC’s official schedule.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all times below are shown in Eastern Time.

Opening ceremony

For the first time, NBC will air the four-hour program opening ceremony live July 23. If you are based in the United States, you will have to get up early to catch it. It starts at 8 p.m. Tokyo time, which is 7 a.m. Eastern and 4 a.m. Pacific. NBC says its broadcast will begin at 6:55 a.m.ET. If you miss it, NBC will rebroadcast the event at 7:30 p.m. that night, and again at 12:35 a.m.


Archery Ranking Rounds begin on July 22 at 8 p.m. ET. The mixed team gold game will be on July 24 at 3:45 am The women’s team gold game will be July 25 at 3:40 am The men’s team final will be July 26 at 3:40 am Individual eliminations will take place over the next few days, with the women’s individual final on July 30 at 3:45 am and the men’s individual finals at the same time the following day. Here is the complete program.


Badminton starts with mixed doubles July 23 at 8 p.m. ET. These finals are on July 30 at 2:30 a.m. The men’s doubles final will take place on July 31 at 5 a.m. The men’s singles will take place on August 2 at 7 a.m. The final women’s singles match will take place on August 1 at 7:30 a.m. The women’s doubles will take place on August 2 at midnight.

Baseball and softball

Oddly, the first softball games of the Tokyo Olympics begin before the Opening Ceremony. The first match, between Japan and Australia, is at 8 p.m. July 20. The American team plays at 11 p.m. The gold medal game will take place on July 27 at 7 a.m.

Baseball starts at 11 p.m. July 27. The first American baseball game begins on July 30 at 6 a.m. The final match is August 7 at 6 a.m.

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