Oxford Mail readers have been revealing whether they have been tuning in to the Tokyo Olympics.

They were asked on Facebook: “Will you be staying up to watch the Olympics this year?”

Readers responded on Facebook and while some said they were watching many said they were not.

The time difference between the UK and Japan makes it difficult for UK residents to catch many events live as they are broadcast in the middle of the night.

Read again: Oxfordshire athlete to compete at Olympics

And the BBC’s rights to screen the Olympics are more limited when compared with previous years.

In the United States, NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremony drew 16.7 million viewers, the smallest US television audience for the event in 33 years, according to preliminary data.

Friday’s audience reflected a steep drop, despite difficult comparisons with previous opening ceremonies, when viewers had fewer streaming options.

The Tokyo opener’s TV audience declined by 37% from 2016, when 26.5 million people watched the Rio de Janeiro Games opener, and 59% from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London ceremony.

It was the lowest audience for the opening ceremony since the 1988 Seoul Games, which attracted 22.7 million TV viewers.

It was also lower than the 1992 Barcelona Games, when 21.6 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen data.

Some local athletes have been taking part, including Kieran Bird, a swimmer from Bicester, who was competing in the 800m freestyle yesterday.

The 21-year-old also competed in the 400m freestyle on Saturday but his time of 3mins 48.55secs was not enough to make it to the final.

MAURICE EARP: “Definitely not.”


NATE CHALMERS: “No I never watch the Olympics as it’s not my thing - never been interested in it I don’t like it.”

JULIE HILL: “Me neither. Shame - has a lot love to watch.”


PATRICK MURPHY: “No , I will read the reports next day in the Oxford Mail.”



JANE MARSHECK: “Not watching at all.”

NICK PIERPOINT: “No - wouldn’t mind seeing the BMX though.”

SUSAN CLEATON: “No watching it in the day.”




DEANO GILES: “When is it?”

SEBASTIAN ST ROCH: “No I have a job.”






SARAH WILLIAMS: “No equestrian available on TV - shocking!”

This time round, the BBC is limited to showing two live events at a time: its alternate stream can be accessed via the red button.

This means that many obscure sports are off the viewing menu.

The BBC has already received a large number of complaints about the lack of live Tokyo Olympics coverage on its channels, after viewers failed to realise that the International Olympic Committee had sold the majority of UK television rights to pay-TV company Discovery.

During the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, the BBC was able to offer dozens of free livestreams of different sports, revolutionising the way British viewers watched the games and providing much needed publicity to niche events that would not normally have enjoyed their moment in the public eye.

This is no longer possible, however, after Olympics organisers decided to sell the European television rights for the games to the US company Discovery in a £920m deal.

Discovery has in turn put the vast majority of the coverage behind a paywall, accessible only through their Eurosport channels or on the new £6.99-a-month streaming service Discovery+.

Although the deal with the BBC was announced in 2016, this is the first summer Olympics where it has come into effect, meaning much of the British public was not aware of the changes until now.

Under the deal with the International Olympic Committee, Discovery is still required to make some of the coverage available on a free-to-air channel.

Discovery decided to stick with the BBC for this element in the UK, in part to avoid a public relations disaster.