After having to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is finally in full swing, and we've got all the details on how to watch the Olympics for free with many broadcasters bringing down the paywall for the occasion.
A packed fortnight event, tune in to over 400 events. That's 35 types of sport and more than 50 disciplines, including new events like skateboarding, surfing, climbing, and baseball.
Bringing together the world's greatest athletes, everyone will be watching closely to see who secures a gold, silver or bronze, and, of course, which country takes home the most gold medals.
Keep reading to find out how to watch the Olympics for free and the Tokyo 2020 live streams available where you are. And don't forget, if you're out of the country and want to stream your native broadcaster's free Olympic live stream, why not try a VPN to bypass geo-restrictions (opens in new tab)?
When is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
With a busy schedule stretching across two-and-a-half weeks, the 2021 Olympics is taking place between Wednesday, July 21 and Sunday, August 8 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
The Olympic Closing Ceremony will bring all the action to a climactic close on Sunday, August 8.
How to watch the Olympics for free if you're outside of the country
If you're out of the country at any point during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, you can still get access to a live stream of every sport and discipline by making use of our best VPN to get past those geo-restrictions.
With most domestic broadcasters locking streaming services to their country, you may hit a wall when it comes to accessing the likes of BBC iPlayer, 7 Plus, CBC, and TVNZ when overseas. However, by getting yourself a handy streaming VPN, you can hop on a server within the US or UK (or anywhere else for that matter depending on where your online content is geo-restricted to), and this will switch your IP address to make it appear as if you're browsing right from the comfort of your own home.
ExpressVPN is our pick of VPN providers (opens in new tab) - With its consistent high speeds, and wealth of security features, alongside its ability to unlock geo-restricted content, you can watch 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Better still, it offers new customers a 30-day money back guarantee (opens in new tab), allowing you to give it a go and find out if it's actually the service for you before you well and truly part with your hard-earned dollar. Better still, right now you can save 49% and receive an additional 3 months with your plan for free.
How to watch the Olympics for free in the UK with no ads
In the UK, the BBC will be offering a way to watch the Olympics for free and without ad breaks. Unlike previous years, the BBC doesn't have the most rights to the coverage. However, you can expect hundreds of hours broadcasting key events from Tokyo 2020 without spending a penny across BBC One, BBC Two and via the red button on your TV.
Not in front of the tele? You can watch the Olympics for free online without missing a moment thanks to BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab) across a number of devices, including:
- Smart TVs: JVC, Philips, LG, Polaroid, Panasonic, Samsung
- Desktop: Windows, Mac
- Mobile: iOS, Android
- Media streamers: Amazon Fire TV, Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku
- Consoles: Xbox One, PS4
Won't be in the UK for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games? Don't miss out on the free, no-ads coverage on the BBC. Residents can simply download and use a VPN (opens in new tab) to change their location to appear as if they're in the UK and watch BBC iPlayer as usual.
How to watch the Olympic Games for free in the US
Those looking to access an Olympic Games live stream Stateside don't have many options to watch the Olympics for free. NBC is the official US broadcaster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with coverage split between NBCSN (opens in new tab), NBC (opens in new tab), which are both available through your cable package. This means you can also find coverage on NBC's dedicated streaming platform, Peacock TV (opens in new tab).
If you're looking to dip your toes into Olympic coverage, Peacock does have a host of content for free, including Tokyo Live and Tokyo Today shows. These give "multi-sport coverage", meaning you'll get highlights and an at-a-glance approach to key 2021 Olympics action.
With all these services no matter your preference, if you find yourself outside of the US and want to watch your native broadcaster, with the help of a VPN (opens in new tab) you'll be able to watch as if you were home.
How to watch the Olympics for free around the rest of the world
As a global event, there are plenty of options for those outside of the UK or US to watch the Olympics for free - in fact, in the likes of Canada and Australia you can benefit from some of the most comprehensive free Olympic live streams available.
In Canada, you can watch the Olympics for free through CBC (opens in new tab). While you'd usually expect to pay to get the most from the platform, we've found there to be loads of free coverage available absolutely free on its website (opens in new tab) and through device apps.
Down Under in Australia, you can benefit from a free Olympics live stream. All the coverage will be available to watch on Channel 7 (opens in new tab) on linear TV and online through its on-demand service, 7Plus (opens in new tab). Here we've found the coverage to be some of the most in-depth in the world, with multiple concurrent live streams to choose from, so you can get straight to the action you want to watch.
For those across the pond in New Zealand, you have the option of watching for free on TVNZ and TVNZ OnDemand (opens in new tab).
Elsewhere, other countries offering the ability to watch the Olympics for free are Ireland with RTE, Germany on ARD or ZDF, and in France on TF1.
For other options to watch the Olympics for free and live stream the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games around the world, we couldn't find a more comprehensive list than the dedicated Wikipedia (opens in new tab) page. Here you'll find a list of countries and their corresponding broadcasters for the 2021 Olympics.
And, of course, if you're not going to be in the country and want to watch the Olympics for free through your preferred broadcaster, you can make the most of a VPN (opens in new tab) to bypass geo-restrictions and stream Tokyo 2020.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games schedule
- Open Ceremony - July 23
- 3x3 Basketball - July24 - 28
- Archery - July 23 - 31
- Artistic Gymnastics - July 24 - August 3
- Artistic Swimming - August 2 - 7
- Athletics - July 30 - August 8
- Baseball (Softball) - July 21 - August 7
- Basketball - July 25 - August 7
- Beach Volleyball - July 24 - August 7
- Boxing - July 24 - August 8
- Canoe Slalom - July 25 - 30
- Canoe Sprint - August 2 - 7
- Cycling BMX Freestyle - July 31 - August 1
- Cycling BMX Racing - July 29 - 30
- Cycling Mountain Bike - July 26 - 27
- Cycling Road - July 24 - 28
- Cycling Track - August 2 - 8
- Diving - July 25 - August 7
- Equestrian - July 24 - August 7
- Fencing - July 24 - August 1
- Football - July 21 - August 7
- Golf - July 29 - August 7
- Handball - July 24 - August 8
- Hockey - July 24 - August 6
- Judo - July 24 - 31
- Karate - August 5 - 7
- Marathon Swimming - August 4 - 5
- Modern Pentathlon - August 5 -7
- Rhythm Gymnastics - August 6 - 8
- Rowing - July 23 - 30
- Rugby Sevens - July 26 - 31
- Sailing - July 25 - August 2
- Shooting - July 24 - August 2
- Skateboarding - July 25 - 26, August 4 - 5
- Sport Climbing - August 3 - 6
- Surfing - July 25 - August 1
- Swimming - July 24 - August 1
- Table Tennis - July 24 - August 6
- Taekwondo - July 24 - 27
- Tennis - July 24 - August 1
- Trampline Gymnastics - July 30 - 31
- Triathlon - July 26 - 31
- Volleyball - July 24 - August 8
- Water Polo - July 24 - August 8
- Weightlifting - July 24 - August 4
- Wrestling - August 1 - 7
- Closing Ceremony - August 8
How to watch using a VPN
When it comes to ensuring you don't miss a moment of the action when it comes an Olympics live stream, no matter where you are in the world, a VPN can prove to be your best friend and one of the handiest pieces of software going. Allowing you to watch your broadcaster of choice even if you're not in the country, VPN is the key to unlocking a whole library of geo-restricted content. But how?
- VPN - standing for virtual private network - offers security and anomality as you browse online, using set protocols to encrypt your data and make it unreadable to outsiders.
- As a part of that, you can also switch your IP address, which identifies your location.
- Most VPNs offer a list of locations where its servers are based to join. Connecting to them switches your IP to appear as if you're browsing from that country/city. In turn, you can then access content locked to that country.
- When it comes to finding a VPN, you should make sure you find the best one that's suitable for your chosen device, with VPN providers offering compatibility for a ton of devices, including VPN for Mac, VPN for Android smartphones, an iPad VPN, and even a range of fairly nifty free VPNs.
- Once you've made the decision for the most suitable VPN for your device and your means for using a VPN, sign-up and install it.
- To watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, all you need to do is select a country/city from its list of available servers and connect. You'll then be able to hop over those geo-restrictions with streaming services opening its online gates to you.
- We'd recommend doing a test run before the start of the Olympics to ensure it does work so you don't miss a moment of the Chiefs vs Buccaneers game.
- We also want to ensure your money is well spent, too, so would recommend going for a VPN that offers a risk free trial. ExpressVPN is one of many providers that has a 30-day money back guarantee (opens in new tab).