A year after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Summer Olympics scheduled for Tokyo, the Games finally get underway today. And you have several options if you want to watch them for free.
Since the last Summer Olympic Games — 2016, in Rio de Janeiro — millions of people have cut the cord on their cable and are now streaming TV coverage. But that doesn’t mean they have to pay to watch the Games this year in Tokyo.
Here are some options for getting your fix of the Olympics for free.
Of course, if you have a TV, you can still watch NBC’s free over-the-air coverage of the Games. That is true even if you don’t have cable. However, you may need a digital antenna to get over-the-air programming.
To find out which Olympic events air on the NBC network and when, check the “Schedule” page on NBCUniversal’s Olympics website.
Peacock is NBCUniversal’s streaming service, and you can get it for free: Peacock Free offers live coverage so long as you are willing to watch commercials.
Most of Peacock’s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics will be available on Peacock Free. The service says this will include:
- Peacock’s always-on Tokyo NOW Channel, which features four original shows covering “the most important moments of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics” (Yes, that’s correct: After the yearlong pandemic delay, the event is still officially called the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.)
- Peacock Original documentaries, series and specials
- Event highlights
- Five dedicated Olympic channels featuring “curated historical moments, athlete profiles, Team USA highlights, and a livestream of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics flame”
You must upgrade to Peacock Premium, which costs $4.99 per month, if you want to stream U.S. men’s basketball games and select replays of competition (or if you want to avoid commercials).
Hulu + Live TV
The good news: You can watch coverage for free if you already subscribe to Hulu + Live TV or if you sign up for a free trial.
The bad news: The free trial period for Hulu + Live TV is only seven days. After that, you will have to pay ($64.99 per month).
Or, if you are cheap — we prefer the term “enterprising” — you could watch a week of coverage of the Olympics for free on Hulu, and then cancel Hulu and use the next option to watch the remainder of the Games.
As with Hulu + Live TV, you can watch the Olympics for free during a seven-day trial period if you sign up for Fubo TV, a streaming service focused on sports.
The Games actually span 17 days — July 23 through Aug. 8 — so a combination of Hulu + Live TV and Fubo TV free trials will bring most but not all of the Olympics into your home.
If you absolutely must have the full 17-day Olympics experience, you can add a third freebie by signing up for YouTube TV. The streaming service offers a free trial, although it doesn’t specify how long the trial lasts.