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Here's How to Watch Olympics 2016 Coverage for Free

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Linsay ThomasGuest Blogger
August 06, 2016 · 4.4k Views

The 2016 Olympics are now underway in Rio de Janeiro. Until August 21, the world’s best athletes – more than 11,000 in all – from 208 countries will compete in 311 events. Many of us enjoy watching the various sports, which range from archery to basketball to swimming to weightlifting. But that’s exactly where it gets tricky.

If you have cable or satellite TV, you can see many of the events without a problem. If you aren’t paying for your TV, well, good luck if you want to watch the Olympics. While some of the events can be seen on local channel NBC, most of the events are on cable TV – on channels such as CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, USA, Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network.

Source: Travel and Leisure

So why exactly is watching the Olympics such a huge hassle? Blame NBC. NBC holds the exclusive domestic rights for the Olympics until 2020. They paid $4 billion for these rights, so they have the power to determine how viewers can watch the Olympics in the United States.

This doesn’t mean have to go out and buy a cable subscription just to watch the Olympics. Here are a few ways to get around that, but it’s not easy – unless you’re technically savvy. Want to give it a go? Try these tips below so you can hopefully enjoy some sports coverage over the next few weeks as the world’s best athletes represent their countries and go for the gold.


1. Use an antenna.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably haven’t used any sort of antenna in decades. Maybe you use Netflix or other streaming services. But if you don’t have cable TV and watch the Olympics, it’s possible with an aerial antenna. Many older houses may already have one. If you don’t have one, you can get one cheaply – under $50. You’ll need to adjust it so you can get the best reception available, but once you do, you can get over-the-air broadcasts. You won’t be able to see the Olympics in its entirety, but you will be able to view the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as most major events. In fact, 260 hours of Olympics coverage will be aired on NBC.

2. Use Sling TV to stream coverage.

Source: About Dish

With Sling TV - owned by Dish Network – you pay $25 a month for streaming service. The Sling Blue package includes many of the channels that will be airing Olympics coverage – USA, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC.  If you don’t want to pay at all, you can check out a 7-day free trial.

3. Use your PlayStation.

Finally, your child’s video game system comes in handy. You can use your PlayStation to stream the Olympics, just like you would with Sling TV. The service is called PlayStation Vue and costs $30 a month. It includes USA, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC, all which air the Olympics. With Vue, you can also get a free 7-day trial.

4. Visit your friends or family members who have cable.

Source: Rio 2016

If you really want to see certain events, ask your neighbors, friends or family members. It’s free and easy. It may be a little inconvenient for everyone involved, but bring some appetizers and your brother with Dish Network or that neighbor across the street with the Comcast setup may be happy to oblige. Plus, you’ll get to spend some quality time with people you care about – at least for the next few weeks anyway.

5. Spoof your location.

The four ways listed above are the easiest ones to watch free Olympics coverage. If you can’t or aren’t willing to try any of the above, things are going to start to get technical. For this tip, you’ll need to change your IP address so you can watch free international coverage. You can’t watch Canadian or British broadcasting for free if you don’t live in those countries – unless you mask your IP. This can be done through a web browser proxy, Virtual Private Network (VPN) or DNS masking service. No matter which one you choose, it will have to be configured at the router level. You’ll have to pay to obtain any of these options, but it’ll be cheaper than paying for a month of cable.

How important is it to you to watch the 2016 Olympics? Are you such a diehard fan that you’d be willing to try any of the above tips to view some coverage? If so, good luck and have fun rooting for your favorite athletes and countries!


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Linsay Thomas is a seasoned writer and editor who has written thousands of articles about topics such as saving money, healthcare, law, pets and education. She hails from California, where she lives with her husband, two children and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing, she enjoys sports, breeding chocolate Labs and visiting the beach.
gamehouse88Aug 08, 2016
thank you for sharing.
AprilVC90Aug 06, 2016
Great! I did the 7-Day free trial on Sling and it's working great!
dtran5Aug 06, 2016
Awesome to hear! Thanks for sharing :)

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