The Olympics have long been a major television event. Until 1994, the Summer and Winter Games were held in the same year making them a big deal. Since that time, the Winter Games have been every 4 years starting in 1994 and the Summer games every 4 years starting in 1996.
The COVID-19 pandemic messed that schedule up, however. So this year, we are going to see the games back-to-back, although in the opposite order than they traditionally were with the Summer games first.
Moving forward, the Olympic games will continue on as before with the next Summer games in 2024 and the next Winter Games in 2026.
- Summer Olympics 2021
- Location: Tokyo, Japan
- Opening ceremony: Jul 23, 2021
- Closing ceremony: Aug 8, 2021
- Events: 339
- Winter Olympics 2022
- Location: Beijing, China
- Opening ceremony: Feby 4, 2022
- Closing ceremony: Feb 20, 2022
- Events: 109
- Summer Olympics 2024: Jul 26 – Aug 11 in Paris, France
- Winter Olympics 2026: Feb 6 – Feb 22 in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
- Summer Olympics 2028: Jul 21 – Aug 6 in Los Angeles, USA.
The games span 17 days. The most popular Summer games are gymnastics, swimming, track, soccer, and basketball. But less-prominent games like volleyball, wrestling, and table tennis can be extremely exciting.
The Winter games feature less than a third as many events but they are very popular. That’s especially true of figure skating, ice hockey, and alpine (downhill) skiing. Other events worth checking out include snowboarding, freestyle skiing, and bobsleighing. But the oft-maligned curling is usually a lot of fun to watch.
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Where Are the Olympics Broadcast?
In the old days of network TV, viewers were limited to watching only parts of the most popular events. Cable changed all that. And now, you don’t even need cable.
In 2014, NBCUniversal paid the International Olympic Committee (IOC) $7.75 billion for the broadcast rights to the Olympics in the United States through the 2032 games. This means that depending on the event you might be watching on NBC, NBCSN, The Olympic Channel, USA, or possibly other NBCUniversal-owned networks.
All of these channels are available online as live streams. As long as you find the right package, you should be all set to watch the Olympics online from start to finish!
How to Watch the Olympics Without Cable
Olympics coverage airs on multiple channels. You don’t need a cable subscription to see it all. If you just want to follow the Olympics, you will have no problem. It may take a bit of planning to see your favorite events if they aren’t the most popular.
You can find all the event schedules on NBCOlympics.com. It also includes a lot of on-demand content and information about the games. Bookmark it. It’s a good resource.
Watch Olympics Over-the-Air
Many events will air on your local NBC affiliate. You can watch this absolutely free if you have a digital antenna — assuming you live relatively close to a local station.
Having a digital antenna is a good thing for cord-cutters. They provide you with greater options for your viewing experience. Check out these articles for more information on getting set up:
- What Is OTA?
- Watch Local News Without Cable
- HDTV Without Cable — Using a Simple Indoor Antenna
- Indoor or Outdoor TV Antenna?
- Best Over-the-Air (OTA) DVR Options.
Streaming the Olympics
Of course, you can also watch NBC online. And a big change from the last Olympics is that NBC started Peacock TV. They will be streaming four live shows each day after the opening ceremonies:
- Tokyo LIVE (6-11 am ET)
- Tokyo Gold (11-12 am ET)
- On Her Turf at the Olympics (7-7:30 pm ET)
- Tokyo Tonight (7:30-12 pm ET).
But if you want full coverage of the Olympics, you will probably want a full-featured streaming service. Since coverage will be spread out on a variety of channels — USA, The Olympic Channel, and NBCSN — you should pick a service that offers them.
Top Streaming Services for the Olympics
All the major streaming services can provide full access to the upcoming Olympic games — some with their base plans and others with add-ons like Sling TV, or more expensive plans like AT&T
One feature that is very important to people who don’t want to miss a minute of the Olympics is a DVR. Normally, many events are happening at the same time so being able to record one event or show while watching another is critical.
Another good feature for people with family or roommates is the availability to stream on multiple screens at the same time. All the services provide at least 2-3 screens but you can usually pay extra to get more.
Since all the streaming services provide pretty good Olympics coverage, you should look at their whole packages. We’ve provided links to our reviews for each of them.
|Hulu + Live TV||$64.99||70+||50 hrs||2||7-day|
|Sling TV||$46.00||56||50 hrs||3||3-day|
|AT&T TV||$94.99||130+||20 hrs||20||None|
The Olympics on FuboTV
For $64.99/mo, FuboTV includes more than 100 channels with every package. This includes everything you need to watch the Olympics without cable. They provide USA, The Olympic Channel, and NBCSN with their basic (Startup) plan. They also provide the local NBC affiliate in all but a handful of locations.
FuboTV gives all new subscribers a free one-week trial. Since this is a contract-free service, you’ll be able to cancel during the trial if this isn’t the right service for you. This will ensure you’re not charged for anything. If you wait to cancel until after the trial ends, you’ll be charged for at least the first month, depending on when you cancel.
Our FuboTV review can tell you more.
The Olympics on Hulu + Live TV
Hulu with Live TV starts you off with over 70 channels for $64.99/mo. This collection includes the channels where the Olympics will be airing: NBC Sports Network, USA, and The Olympic Channel. And the NBC affiliate is included in almost all locations.
On top of that, Hulu + Live TV offers complete access to all Hulu on-demand content including Hulu Originals. It is a contract-free service, which means you don’t have any commitments. You can cancel whenever you want. You can try Hulu + Live TV free for 7-days.
Our Hulu + Live TV review has full details.
The Olympics on Sling TV + OTA Antenna
Sling TV is one of the best low-cost streaming services. For just $35/mo, Sling Blue provides access to 44 streaming channels including NBC Sports Network and USA. By including the Sports Extra add-on ($11/mo), you will get The Olympic Channel (plus 11 other channels including MLB Network, NBA TV, and NFL RedZone).
If you pay for 2 or 3 months of service upfront, Sling will provide you with a digital OTA antenna, which will allow you to stream your local NBC affiliate. What’s notable here is that Sling makes it easy to integrate your OTA channels along with your streaming channels so you don’t need to switch back and forth.
So for $46/mo, you should have complete Olympics coverage. For all the details on Sling TV, see our review.
The Olympics on YouTube TV
For $64.99/mo, YouTube TV offers more than 85 channels. It provides access to all the channels you need for good Olympics coverage: USA, The Olympic Channel, and NBC Sports Network. And in most location, you will also get the local NBC affiliate.
Like other services, YouTube TV provides an absolutely risk-free way to try out the service. You’ll start with a free weeklong trial. If you’re not satisfied you can cancel during the trial and you won’t be charged.
See our YouTube TV review for more information.
The Olympics on AT&T TV
AT&T TV is slightly more expensive than the other streaming services at $69.99/mo. They offer 65+ channels with many options for greater coverage. Their base plan includes NBC Sports Network and USA with the local NBC affiliate in most areas.
To get The Olympics Channel, you will need to upgrade to their Ultimate Plan for $94.99/mo, which comes with 130+ channels. As a result, AT&T TV is probably not a good choice if you are only getting it for Olympics coverage.
Check out our AT&T TV review to learn more.
Streaming Device Support
To fully enjoy the coming Olympic games, you want to view them in high devinition. So it’s critical that the service you pick support your devices. There’s good news about this.
These days, the major streaming services provide excellent support for streaming devices. If it was purchased over the past couple of years from Amazon or a big box store, it’s almost certainly supported.
Here are the devices that all the services we’ve discussed provide:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Mobile Devices (Android, iOS)
- Samsung smart TVs
There are some notable exceptions. All the providers except AT&T TV provide support for Android TV (Google TV). Only FuboTV and YouTube TV support Hisense.
You won’t have any problems watching the Olympics online without cable. You’ll be able to stream on most devices. You can even use a digital antenna for the events airing on NBC.
It should be easy enough to find a service that offers all of the channels you need to watch the Olympics without cable, so you can watch everything all in one spot!
Make sure to let us know if you have any questions about how to watch the Olympics online without cable!
How can I watch The Olympic Channel without cable?
The Olympic Channel is widely supported among the top streaming services. It comes with the base plans of FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV. It comes with Sling TV via the Sports Extra add-on. AT&T TV requires that you upgrade to its Ultimate Plan.
What happened to the 2020 Olympics?
Normally, the Olympic Summer Games would have occurred in 2020. But it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is still normally referred to as the 2020 Summer Olympics or Tokyo 2020. The Winter Olympic Games will be held at their normal time and the next Summer Games will be held as normal in 2024.
Can I watch the Olympics on Hulu?
Hulu offers two kinds of plans. The standard plan only provides on-demand streaming. You will be able to see a lot of the Olympics using this plan but it will not be live. The Hulu + Live TV plan will provide you with live Olympic coverage that is as good as any you will get in the industry or on cable.