It’s almost time to say hello and welcome 2021! But kicking off the new year won’t look the same, as the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square will go virtual this year amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If you want to know how to watch the New Year’s 2021 ball drop online for free, as well as other events, you’ve come to the correct place. Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to watch the annual tradition from home.
As all of us know, New Year’s Eve on Thursday, December 31, will look a lot different than previous years. Due to the current health crisis, many New Year’s events have been cancelled. Still there, some (socially distanced) events that viewers can still watch on their TV or online, including the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop, which occurs at midnight ET on New Year’s and has occurred since 1907.
Times Square Online
One Times Square, the property where the Ball is located, is offering an augmented-reality app for Android, iPhone, and iPad that brings Times Square directly to wherever you are. If AR isn’t your thing, the app offers an online live stream with multiple feeds from Times Square and around the world, plus behind-the-scenes footage.
There’s also a more traditional live webcast from the Times Square website.
ABC’s long-running New Year’s Eve celebration, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, will return this year with host Ryan Seacrest broadcasting live from Times Square alongside actress and co-host Lucy Hale. Other hosts will check in from New Orleans (Pose‘s Billy Porter) and Los Angeles (pop singer Ciara), but the focus will be trained on Times Square as the ball drops.
Subscribers to AT&T TV Now ($55+ per month after a seven-day free trial), Fubo TV ($29.99+ per month after a three-day free trial), Hulu with Live TV ($54.99+ per month after a seven-day free trial), and YouTube TV ($64.99 per month after a seven-day free trial) can watch the broadcast starting at 8 p.m. local time as part of the live stream of their local ABC affiliate.
NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2020 will also broadcast live from Times Square, with returning host Carson Daly joined by actress and Dancing With the Stars veteran Julianne Hough as his co-host and DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss of The Ellen Degeneres Show as a special correspondent. The show will feature musical performances from X Ambassadors, Brett Eldredge, Ne-Yo, Leslie Odom Jr., Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and more, along with the traditional ball drop.
Subscribers to AT&T TV Now ($55+ per month after a seven-day free trial), Fubo TV ($29.99+ per month after a three-day free trial), Hulu with Live TV ($54.99+ per month after a seven-day free trial), and YouTube TV ($64.99 per month after a seven-day free trial) can watch the broadcast starting at 10 p.m. local time as part of the live stream of their local NBC affiliate.
CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast hosted by Anderson Cooper has become a holiday institution in recent years. This year, CNN star Anderson Cooper will return with co-host Andy Cohen of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live. The dynamic between the two close friends is always entertaining to watch, and the CNN broadcast will also include appearances and performances from John Mayer, Snoop Dogg, Patti Labelle, Kylie Minogue, and Jon Bon Jovi, among many others.
CNN correspondents will check in from around the world, but Times Square will be the focus when the ball drops.
CNN’s broadcast can be watched live for free starting at 8 p.m. ET on the CNN website and will be available to stream live for subscribers to Hulu with Live TV ($54.99+ per month after a seven-day free trial), Sling TV ($30+ per month after a one-day free trial), and YouTube TV ($64.99 per month after a seven-day free trial).
How to Watch the Ball Drop Live Online or From Your Phone
The Times Square official website has several ways you can watch the ball drop online. They offer a live webcast directly on their site here, with mobile streaming also available on NewYearseveand TimesSquareBall. You can also watch on social media via their Facebook and Twitter pages.
How to stream the 2021 New Year’s Eve Times Square ball drop online for free:
Have no fear if you don’t have cable. You can watch a commercial-free webcast of the 2021 Times Square NYE ball drop on Times Square’s official website, TimesSquareNYC.
On the move? You can mobile stream the New Year’s Eve ball drop at TimesSquareNYC.,
Are there other ways to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop without cable?
Of course! You can also watch the ball drop on Hulu + Live TV ($55 a month if you’ve already got Hulu), YouTube TV ($65 a month), or fuboTV ($60 a month), to name a few subscription services.
Whatever you do, be sure to get started with your setup early so you don’t miss the final countdown to 2021.