We may be a year late, but the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are nearly here. After a 12-month delay due to the pandemic, the famous sporting event will be taking place in Japan – though due to the cost in rebranding it will still be called the ‘2020 Olympics’.
If you want to tune in, then we have you covered for both broadcast TV and streaming – with options for both the UK and US. Keep on reading for more information. You can also check out our guide to watching the NFL.
When are the Olympics taking place?
The Olympics will be kicking off on Friday 23 July 2021 with the opening ceremony. They will conclude on Sunday 8 August 2021, running for just over two weeks.
If you’d like to tune into the opening ceremony, this is currently scheduled for 12pm (midday) BST, and 7am ET – which is 8pm JST (Japan Standard Time).
The world only moves forward when we move together. #StrongerTogether #Tokyo2020
— Olympics (@Olympics)
June 22, 2021
How to watch the Olympics in the UK
The channels with the rights to the Olympics in the UK this year are the BBC and Eurosport. You’ll be able to watch most sporting events through both of these channels – with the BBC likely splitting some things between BBC One and Two.
BBC channels are available on both Freeview and TV packages such as Virgin and Sky, and you’ll also need a valid UK TV licence. Eurosport however is only accessible as a premium channel, not through standard Freeview TV.
Both the opening and closing ceremonies are likely to air on BBC One.
If you don’t have access to a TV, then you can still stream the Olympics either on BBC iPlayer or Eurosport/Discovery+.
BBC iPlayer is free to sign up, but you do need a valid UK TV licence to watch. If you’re travelling whilst the Olympics are on, you can still log in to iPlayer with a VPN. VPNs (virtual private networks) reroute your IP address, which means you can browse the internet as if you’re in another country. For the best speeds and performance, we recommend NordVPN.
You can find out more details in our guide to watching iPlayer from abroad.
The dedicated streaming service for Eurosport is also being rolled into Discovery+. Plans start from £4.99 per month, and you also get access to other entertainment shows such as 90 Day Fiancé, Aussie Gold Hunters and Gold Rush.
If you’re a Vodafone mobile customer, then you can actually claim six months worth of Discovery+ completely for free, so you can stream the Olympic games at no extra cost. You can get the Vodafone Discovery+ offer here.
You can also add Eurosport as an extra channel on Amazon Prime, which costs an extra £6.99 on top of your existing Prime Video subscription. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here.
How to watch the Olympics in the US
The broadcaster which holds the rights to the Olympics in the US is NBCUniversal. This means that the games will air on NBC (available on cable TV packages) and other NBCUniversal channels like NBCSN.
If you don’t have a TV, then never fear. You can still stream the Olympics online.
NBCUniversal also owns the streaming platform Peacock. Subscribers will be able to tune into ‘new daily live shows, original programming, Olympics channels, full event replays and curated highlights of NBC Olympics’ coverage’ according to NBC.
Most programming will be available on the free tier of Peacock, with the exception of USA Men’s Basketball live coverage – which will be exclusive to Premium subscribers.
There are three tiers to Peacock – free, Premium and Premium Plus. The free tier offers a limited content library, whilst the two other Premium tiers have a larger selection, with the Plus tier giving the content with no ads.
The Premium tier costs $5.99 per month, whilst Premium Plus costs $9.99 per month.
Another cheap way is to sign up to Sling TV. This subscription usually costs $35 per month, but new customers can get the first month for just $10 – plenty enough time to stream all of the games. Sign up for Sling TV here.
Fubo TV is another streaming option – you can get a seven-day free trial, which then goes up to $64.99 per month. However, if you’re only watching the games for a select number of things, you could always take advantage of the free trial and cancel before you pay. Sign up for Fubo TV here.
You can also sign up for YouTube TV, which features four dedicated channels for 4K Olympic channels: NBC 4K, NBC Sports 4K, Olympic Channel 4K, and Golf Channel 4K.
YouTube TV costs $64.99 per month, though there is currently an offer on which knocks $10 off the usual price.
Like Peacock, you can cancel this subscription at any time. YouTube TV has also confirmed that it will offer the games in 4K, though this does cost extra.