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How to watch the 2020 Tokyo Olympics without cable

Postponed by a year, the 2020 Tokyo Games are finally happening. Taking place from July 23 through August 8, this year’s event will be unlike any other. Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, there’ll be no official attendance allowed, but a normal lineup of competitive sports is on the docket, featuring everything from swimming to gymnastics.

For those of us viewing from home, there are several ways to take in this year’s games, even if you’re not a paying cable subscriber. In fact, if you’re a proud cord-cutter (we support you!) there are more ways to watch this cherished international event than ever before. We’ve broken down several of the major outlets below.

The major networks

As in years past, coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is exclusive to NBC and the various sports networks owned and operated by the NBC empire. These stations will all feature the most in-depth coverage of this year’s games, but many do require a cable subscription.

  • NBC: Offering nightly recaps of the games, as well as limited daytime coverage, you don’t necessarily need cable to watch NBC, as the station can normally be picked up with an antenna.
  • NBC Sports Network: NBC’s pay-cable sports station will feature live and taped recordings of various Tokyo Games events beginning on July 21.
  • USA Network: USA will feature live and taped recordings of various Tokyo Games events beginning on July 21.
  • CNBC: CNBC will go live with around-the-clock Tokyo Games coverage beginning July 24.
  • Olympic Channel: The Olympic Channel goes live with Tokyo Games coverage starting July 21, with a big emphasis on tennis and wrestling events.
  • Golf Channel: The Golf Channel has got you covered for all Tokyo Games golf events.
  • Telemundo & NBC Universo: Both stations will feature Spanish-language coverage of the Tokyo Games.

In addition to these major networks, you can view various live streams and event recaps of the games on both and through the NBC Sports app. Do note that you will need a cable login to access coverage through NBC’s website and app.

The Olympics opening ceremony.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Streaming alternatives

Here’s how our dedicated cord-cutters can view coverage of the Tokyo Games.

  • PeacockFor as little as $5/month, Peacock provides coverage of the Tokyo Games through its Tokyo NOW portal, featuring four distinct Tokyo Games programs. If you’re not interested in paying, Peacock also offers gymnastics and track-and-field coverage for free.
  • Hulu with Live TVYou can get a week of free Tokyo Games coverage through Hulu with Live TV if you’re signing up for the service for the first time. Otherwise, expect to pay $65/month once your initial trial expires.
  • YouTube TVYou’ll get two weeks of free-trial Games coverage by signing up for YouTube TV. After your trial, expect to pay $65/month for the service.
  • fuboTVSimilar to Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV is free for one week, which is enough to enjoy a little more than half of the Tokyo Games. After the trial, you’ll be paying $65/month.
  • AT&T TV (Ultimate Package)You’ll need to spend big with AT&T ($95/month) to get live coverage of the Tokyo Games.
  • Sling TVYou’ll get your first month of Sling TV for only $10. That’s plenty of time to catch the Games in their entirety. After your reduced month, prices go up to around $30.

An antenna or VPN

As previously mentioned, you can pick up live coverage of the Tokyo Games through NBC and its affiliate stations using an over-the-air antenna. While overall reception will be dictated by the quality of the antenna you purchase, we have a few solid recommendations to get you started.

Want to take in some foreign coverage of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games? Try downloading one of these VPNs to get access to the competition in Tokyo through networks like the BBC.

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Michael Bizzaco
Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from…
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