When the 2020 Olympic Games starts, and how you can watch live online

Tokyo's Olympic rings
The Olympic rings in Tokyo Bay. Kevin Reilly
  • The 2020 Olympic Games was delayed for a year because of the pandemic but begins July 23.
  • The grand opening will be hosted in Tokyo at the Olympic Stadium which was completed in 2019.
  • It starts at 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When is the 2020 Olympics?

The 2020 Olympics, which has been delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will officially begin on July 23 with the opening ceremony.

The grand opening will be hosted in the Tokyo district of Kasumigaoka at the Olympic Stadium which was completed in 2019 and can hold up to 68,000 spectators. However, the stands will be empty due to the pandemic.

Here’s what time the opening ceremony begins in major cities across different time zones on Friday, July 23:

  • Tokyo (JST) 8 p.m.
  • London (BST) 12 p.m.
  • New York (ET) 7 a.m.
  • Chicago (CT) 6 a.m.
  • Denver (MT) 5 a.m.
  • Las Vegas (PT) 4 a.m.
  • Los Angeles (PT) 4 a.m.
  • Honolulu (HT) 1 a.m.
  • Sydney (AET) 9 p.m.
  • Moscow (MSK) 2 p.m.
  • Paris (CEST) 1 p.m.

Preceding the ceremony, soccer and softball will begin on July 21 with the US women’s soccer team beginning its Group E campaign against Sweden at 5.30 p.m. local time (4.30 a.m. ET / 1.30 a.m. PT).

Where are the 2020 Olympics taking place?

An aerial view of the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo
The Olympic Stadium will host the opening ceremony. Carl Court/Getty Images

Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 games in 2013 when it beat competition from Madrid and Istanbul. It is the second time the city has hosted with the last occasion coming in 1964.

There will be 41 different venues used during the games and the largest is the International Stadium Yokohama, which is hosting soccer games and can hold 72,000 fans.

Why should I watch?

Given it only takes place every four years, the Olympics is always a special occasion but the 2020 games will be even more unique. It is the first time in the games’ history that the event has ever been rescheduled and there have been only three occasions in the past when the games did not go ahead on the original date (all of which were due to war).

The atmosphere will also be unique considering the coronavirus pandemic has forced the organizers to prohibit fans from attending. Empty stadia is nothing new to sports fans but it will be a striking sight to see an Olympics not in front of a full crowd.

American superstar gymnast Simone Biles will be looking to add to her Olympic medal collection. Only 24 years old, Biles has already won four gold and one bronze and is the favorite to boost that number in Tokyo.

Usain Bolt’s retirement in 2017 means there will be a new 100m champion in Tokyo. The Jamaican dominated since 2008, winning eight golds, but his absence means there are now some very big shoes to fill.

The US womens soccer team will also be hoping to pick up its fifth gold medal when the tournament gets underway on July 21.

How can I watch live?

NBC holds the Olympic broadcast rights for US viewers and more info can be found here.

For UK audiences, the BBC broadcasts Olympic coverage and it can be watched on TV or via BBC iPlayer.

In Canada, coverage is shared between Sportsnet, TSN, CBC, and TLN.