He will be the weird Summer Olympics. The Tokyo 2020 Games are still called the Tokyo 2020 Games because they were postponed for a year due to the pandemic. And though frantic efforts organizers ensured that the Olympics were actually held this time, in the end officials banned the presence of fans. Then it’s there controversial disqualifications, weird cardboard beds in the Olympic Village and the fact that some athletes already had to turn out after a positive Covid test.
In case things weren’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, 14 hours ahead of Central Time, 15 hours ahead of Mountain Time and 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time. Many events will take place during the early morning hours in the U.S., which means you may end up seeing some spoilers. If that worries you, be prepared to ignore notifications and avoid social media. (Or go to the scorched earth and just kill your notifications wholly.)
The Olympic Games begin this Friday, July 23rd. (Technically, there are some events before the opening ceremony, but we’ll get to them in a minute.) The games will take place every day for a little over two weeks, with closing ceremony held on 8 August.
If you have a cable or wireless antenna, you can watch it all live on NBC (once more the only game distributor in the US). You can also stream on NBCs Olympic website or NBC Sport application, although they will need a paid bill to do so. Cable coverage will be on several NBC channels, including NBC Sports, NBC’s Olympic Channel, CNBC and the Golf Channel. Spanish-language coverage is covered by Telemundo and Universo.
If you prefer streaming, one option is NBC Peacock streaming service. You need an account, but there is a free option if you are only interested in highlights. Paid levels start at $ 5 per month (with ads) or $ 10 per month (with fewer ads). You can also watch the games on Hulu’s 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 a 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 games for free. (Then you can easily re-register with a different email address.)
If you have Roku device, there is a built-in dashboard for the Olympics available directly from the main screen, called “Tokyo 2020 Olympics.” Go back there to find the most important parts or add channels like NBC Sports, Peacock, AT&T TV and Fubo. (However, these channels will require existing accounts.) Here’s more about how to navigate Roku’s Olympic bids.
Read about the timing of some of the biggest events. NBC has not yet indicated when it will repeat most of the events, so these are all live times. Also, times are likely to change as real games are played. You can find the complete schedule of events at the official website of the Olympic Games. Use for all Eastern time events NBC’s official schedule.
Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all times below are listed in Eastern Time.
NBC will show a four-hour show for the first time opening ceremony live on July 23rd. If you’re based in the U.S., you’ll need to wake up early to catch it. It starts at 8pm Tokyo time, which is 7am Eastern Time and 4am Pacific Time. NBC says its broadcast will begin at 6:55 a.m. Eastern Time. If you miss it, NBC will broadcast the event at 7:30 p.m. that evening and again at 12:35 p.m.
Men’s gymnastics begins Friday, July 23 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Qualifying rounds continue the next day. The men’s team final is on July 26 at 6:00 AM. The all-around final is July 28 at 6:15 p.m.
Women’s qualifiers start on July 24 at 9 p.m. and continue until the 25th. The women’s team final is on July 27 at 6:45. The all-around final is on July 29 at 6:50 p.m.