Americans who want to watch the 2021 Olympics opening ceremony on Friday will get their first taste of the significant time difference between the continental United States and Japan.
But more on that later: Friday’s opening ceremony, which will take place at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, will be the first worldwide meeting since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. And although it will take place in front of roughly 10,000 spectators — compared to 75,000 in attendance at the 2016 Games — it will be must-watch TV for those with even a passing interest in sports on a national stage.
It remains to be seen how the events of the last year will affect Friday’s opening ceremony, if at all. One difference from previous parades of nations is that teams hosting future Olympics (France in 2024 and the U.S. in 2028) will also be honored. That means those respective countries will march just in front of Japan at the end of the parade, as opposed to alphabetical order.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Olympic opening ceremony including time, date, TV channel and live stream options:
Olympic opening ceremony start time
- Date: Friday, July 23
- Time: 7 a.m. ET | 4 a.m. PT
- Encore: 7:30 p.m. ET | 4:30 p.m. PT
Many Americans will wake up Friday with the Olympic opening ceremony already underway, if not completed — assuming they don’t want to watch it live. Savannah Guthrie and Mike Tirico will host NBC’s first ever live-morning broadcast of the Olympics, at 7 a.m. ET. Tokyo, which operates out of Japan Standard Time, is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time, meaning the ceremony will begin 8 p.m. local time.
NBC will re-air the broadcast at 7:30 p.m. ET for those unable to watch it live; it will also include special coverage of the U.S. national teams.
What channel is the opening ceremony on?
NBC will air the Olympic opening ceremony at 7 a.m. ET (4 a.m. PT) and re-broadcast it at 7:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. PT) on Friday before breaking up coverage of Olympic events across its family of networks. This marks the first time NBC will broadcast an Olympics opening ceremony live in the morning.
Here is NBC’s full television broadcast schedule for Friday, July 23:
|6:55-11 a.m.||Live opening ceremony coverage|
|11 a.m.-1 p.m.||Special Olympics edition of “Today”|
|1-4 p.m.||Tokyo Olympics Daytime|
|7:30 p.m.-Midnight||Opening ceremony replay|
|12:35-1:38 a.m.||Special Olympics edition of “Tonight Show”|
MORE: Day-by-day TV schedule to watch the 2021 Olympics
Opening ceremony live stream
For those who don’t want to be glued to a TV for the 2021 Olympic opening ceremony, other cordless options to watch include NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, NBCOlympics.com or fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.
Olympics schedule today
Friday, July 23
|Opening Ceremony||—||6:55 a.m. – 11 a.m.||NBC|
|Rowing||Qualifying Heat & Repechages||7:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.||USA|
|Cycling||Men’s Road Race||7:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.||USA|
|Tennis||Men’s/Women’s first-round singles, doubles||10 p.m. – 2 a.m.||Olympic Channel|
|Women’s Water Polo||U.S. vs. Japan||12 a.m. – 2 a.m.||NBCSN|