After a year-long delay, the summer edition of the Olympic Games will open in Tokyo on July 23. Travel bans prevent spectators from visiting Japan, but you won’t need a cable subscription to watch the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. Most of it is available on the live TV streaming services Sling TV, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T TV and YouTube TV with extra content on Peacock and the NBC Sports app.
Which Channels Carry the Tokyo Olympics?
NBC Universal has exclusive rights to Olympic coverage in the United States. In the days leading up the opening ceremony on July 23 through to the closing ceremony on August 8, the media giant will present more than 7,000 hours of programming across its broadcast, cable and streaming channels:
NBC: 17 nights and 250+ hours of primetime as well as late night and weekend programming. This includes live coverage of the opening ceremonies during the Today Show, the men’s and women’s basketball finals, and live coverage of select sports.
USA Network: Every hour of every day will be devoted to the Olympics with live coverage of the most popular sports. USA kicks things off early on July 21 with the women’s soccer match between Team USA and Sweden.
CNBC: Once the business day closes, CNBC shifts into Olympics mode. Its sports lineup will include the newly-added skateboarding competitions.
MSNBC: Unlike in past years, MSNBC will not have dedicated Olympics programming but its news programs will undoubtedly cover important events.
NBCSN: NBC Sports will broadcast Olympic programming 24×7 starting July 20 with live softball coverage.
Olympic Channel: Shockingly, the Olympic Channel will also cover the Olympics! You’ll find all sports, but the highlight will be full coverage of the tennis and wrestling tournaments.
Golf Channel: There is only one sport that matters to the Golf Channel so you can watch all 111 hours of the men’s and women’s golf competitions.
Telemundo, Universo: NBC will provide more than 300 hours of Spanish-language programming on the Telemundo broadcast channels and Universo cable channel.
NBC Sports Digital: You get full access to 5,500 hours of Olympic sports through the NBC Sports app. That includes all 41 sports and 339 medal events. The live TV streaming services in this article (but not Peacock) qualify as pay-TV providers, so use your login credentials to get access.
Peacock: More on NBC’s on-demand streaming service below, but the dedicated Tokyo NOW channel will stream 11 hours of live and studio programming.
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Sling TV is the cheapest way to stream the Olympic Games, but you’ll have to choose several upgrade plans to get close to the full coverage. Your total cost will come out to about $52 per month which is less than competing services. Fortunately, Sling TV and all of the other live TV streaming services have no-questions-asked cancellation policies.
For $35 per month, the Sling Blue plan lets you stream MSNBC, NBC (in select markets), NBC Sports and USA Network. You will need to add the $11 per month Sports Extra expansion package to get the Olympic Channel and the Golf Channel. CNBC is only available when you also subscribe to the News Extra expansion package for $6 per month. Sling TV does not stream Telemundo or Universo.
If you can’t get your local NBC station with Sling, you can easily pair Sling with Locast which is a non-profit that provides a free way to watch all your local over-the-air broadcast stations.
The channels you get through Sling Blue and its expansion packages are streamable to three devices at the same time. Note that the channels available exclusively to the Sling Orange plan, including ESPN, can only stream to one device. We go into more detail here.
Sling TV’s DVR feature lets you record up to 50 hours of content. An additional fee will expand the capacity to 200 hours. Learn more here.
The streaming service for the sports fanatic, fuboTV is a natural choice for streaming the Olympic games. All of NBC’s broadcast and cable channels are included with both the Starter plan ($65 per month) and the Elite plan ($80 per month). Nearly 50 other sports-centric channels are available through fuboTV as well as the most popular entertainment, lifestyle, news and kids channels.
Even with the Starter plan, your family can have three streams going at once. The Elite plan includes the “Unlimited Screens” option which limits you to ten streams on your home network. FuboTV’s cloud DVR will hold up to 250 hours of content on the entry-level plan and 1,000 hours on the premium plan.
Not just for on-demand, Hulu with Live TV is a popular replacement for cable. Almost every NBC Universal broadcast and cable channel is included with the $65 per month subscription. The only exception is Universo which you can get with the $5 per month Español Add-on.
The base subscription to Hulu with Live TV lets your family stream to two devices at a time and record up to 50 hours of programming. An upgrade will let you record up to 200 hours. Another upgrade will let your family stream to as many devices as your home network can handle as well as three mobile devices.
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You can get the widest variety of channels with AT&T TV, but getting everything you need to watch the Olympics can get expensive. All of AT&T’s subscription plans, starting at $70 per month, include NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN and USA. Universo, the Golf Channel and the Olympic Channel are only available with the Ultimate and Premiere plans which start at $95 per month. Telemundo requires a $15 per month upgrade.
By default, AT&T TV limits simultaneous streaming to three devices and DVR recording to 20 hours. You can pay an extra fee to get an unlimited recording capacity. You can learn more about AT&T TV’s simultaneous streaming and cloud DVR.
An innovative interface and strong support for local network affiliate channels turned YouTube TV into a strong cable-replacement service. The $65 monthly subscription plan offers a balanced mix of broadcast and basic cable channels including all of the NBC Universal channels. Check out our articles on YouTube TV’s pricing and channel lineup for more detail.
YouTube TV subscribers can have three streams going at the same time and can record ad much content as they want. The Flixed articles on YouTube TV simultaneous streaming and cloud DVR explain these features more completely.
NBC Universal’s Peacock is primarily an on-demand streaming service, but it does have a few linear and live channels. As mentioned above, Peacock will have a dedicated channel with live coverage in the morning and primetime as well as studio programs recapping the day’s events. However, none of NBC Universal’s TV channels are part of the service.
All three of Peacock’s subscription tiers will let you watch its Olympics coverage. This includes Peacock’s free, ad-supported option. If you want access to everything in Peacock’s on-demand catalog, then you can choose between an ad-supported $5 monthly plan and the $10 ad-free plan. Our article on Peacock’s pricing goes into more detail.
Peacock allows three simultaneous streams per account (more on that here) and does not have a cloud DVR. Check out our Peacock Review for more information about this streaming option.