Tokyo Olympics: How to watch softball

Team USA softball
(Image credit: Getty Images/NBC)

Softball is back at the Olympics, with the Tokyo Olympics marking the first time the sport has taken place since the 2008 games in Beijing. Fans will be able to get in on the action early, as NBC will kick off its Olympic coverage with softball.

Prior to the Opening Ceremony on July 23, there will be three days of competition airing on NBC channels featuring softball, women’s soccer and men’s soccer. But before we dive into softball’s schedule, here’s a quick primer on the countries vying for gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

The U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy and Mexico make up the six team field. In the years that softball has been an Olympic sport, the U.S. has mostly dominated, winning three out of four gold medals, and silver the other time. Host nation Japan was the one to beat the U.S. for the gold in 2008. The two countries could be on a collision course again, as FanDuel (opens in new tab) has the U.S. as the favorite heading into the games (-210) and Japan as the primary challenger (+200).

Here’s everything you need to know about watching softball during the Olympics, starting off with the tournament schedule. Plus, here's a guide on how to watch all of the Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo Olympics softball tournament schedule

The run for softball gold at the Tokyo Olympics will start on July 20 and go through July 27, with games airing every day. Here’s the full schedule for live coverage of each game:

July 20
Japan vs. Australia, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
U.S. vs. Italy, 11 p.m. ET, NBCSN

July 21
Mexico vs. Canada, 2 a.m. ET, NBCSN
U.S. vs. Canada, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Japan vs. Mexico, 11 p.m. ET, NBCSN

July 22
Italy vs. Australia, 2 a.m. ET, NBCSN

July 23
Australia vs. Canada, 9 p.m. ET, TBD

July 24
U.S. vs. Mexico, 2 a.m. ET, NBCSN
Japan vs. Italy, 7 a.m. ET, TBD
U.S. vs. Australia, 9 p.m. ET, CNBC

July 25
Canada vs. Japan, 1:30 a.m. ET, TBD
Italy vs. Mexico, 7 a.m. ET, TBD
U.S. vs. Japan, 9 p.m. ET, USA

July 26
Canada vs. Italy, 1:30 a.m. ET, TBD
Mexico vs. Australia, 7 a.m. ET, TBD

July 27
Bronze Medal Game, midnight ET, CNBC
Gold Medal Game, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN

*There will be encore presentations of select games.

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics softball tournament in the U.S.

NBC is handling all of the coverage of the Tokyo Olympics for U.S. audiences across its range of channels. Softball will land on a mix of NBCSN, USA and CNBC, all of which are cable channels that are available through traditional cable subscription packages or with vMVPD services, including YouTube TV, Fubo TV (both of which are offering 4K viewing options for the Olympics), Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV

Those with a cable subscription that includes NBC will also be able to watch Olympics coverage through the NBC Sports app or 

In addition, NBC is offering plenty of Olympics content on its Peacock streaming service. This will include full event replays of different sports, of which softball is expected. These replays will be available with Peacock’s free, ad-supported tier. Peacock Premium will only be needed for live coverage of the Olympics basketball tournament.

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics softball tournament in Canada 

CBC is slated to be the broadcast home for the Tokyo Olympics in Canada. The broadcast network has already announced that it will feature the Canadian softball team’s games against the U.S. and Japan on TV; the broadcast schedule does not offer any specific of what events will be covered following the opening ceremony. 

However, CBC Sports Streaming will offer the entire Olympics softball tournament live, including the bronze and gold medal games on July 27. This will be available through CBC Gem, a dedicated CBC Olympics website and the CBC Olympics app.

For Canadian cord cutters, Sling TV offers another streaming option.

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics softball tournament from anywhere

Softball fans around the world can get access to every softball matchup at the Olympics with the help of a virtual private network. A VPN routes the network traffic to and from your computer through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing for users to watch content on an encrypted feed. 

ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)

ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with all of the action of the Olympics from anywhere in the world.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).