How To Watch Sumo In The USA


NOTE: This is from 2016, but may be helpful to readers wondering where they can watch sumo. It will be top of the page for a few days. -Bruce

You may have noted two things in my writing for Tachiai – my love for Sumo and my frustration at my limited access to video of my current favorite sport. But if you are considering watching sumo from the United States, don’t despair. There are free and easy ways that you, too, can enjoy one of the worlds most interesting and compelling sports.

First to know, the national broadcaster of Japan, NHK, owns the rights to sumo broadcast. By and large, if it’s sumo, it’s on NHK. For a long time that meant frustration for most fans. While NHK generously provides a “NHK World” feed on some video providers, it was not offered on DirecTV or any cable provider I have had since I lived in Cupertino during the era of Akibono and Takanohana.

Now, in the modern era – we have an app from NHK World. This little marvel will allow you to stream video from the NHK World Service to almost any smartphone, tablet or even (my favorite) 4th generation Apple TV.

What – NHK world does not show the full 3 hour event that is the upper divisions of sumo. What we have instead is about 25 minutes of daily highlights from the current tournament (which happen in the middle of odd numbered months). You can watch highlights on the NHK World app at


12:30 PM Eastern / 11:30 AM Central / 10:30 AM Mountain / 9:30 AM Pacific
6:30 PM Eastern / 5:30 PM Central / 4:30 PM Mountain / 3:30 PM Pacific
12:30 AM Eastern / 11:30 PM Central / 10:30 PM Mountain / 9:30 PM Pacific

On their dedicated sumo web page, there is also video on demand, which makes it easy to watch matches when you want, where you want. For my family, we watch them via Apple TV, and it’s is a greatly anticipated household event.

If you have never watched sumo before, and you think it’s just two fat sweaty men in loincloths pushing each other around, you owe it to yourself to watch one of these summaries. Unlike US “Pro Wrestling” – this is the real thing, not scripted, no pre-determined. They battle with strength, courage and skill. At the end of the tournament, wrestlers with losing records are demoted, and wrestlers with winning records are promoted. Their rank determines their pay, so winning truly matters.

Join me in my favorite sport during September, you will probably be hooked and come to love sumo.

9 thoughts on “How To Watch Sumo In The USA

  1. Coming from a Canadian perspective, some broadcasters here offer TVJapan, which is bssically NHK and airs the full 3 hour tournament every night. the tournament is broadcasted in Japanese. Some cable providers offer SAP broadcasts with english comentarty, Shaw reportedly being one of them. Unfortunetly my provider, Telus, does not.

  2. Thank you so much for the information.
    For years I’ve been a huge fan. There is so much to love a out Sumo. Perhaps Americans can learn about being a gracious winner.
    Cheers to you for sharing the art, superstition, culture and true athleticism that is Sumo!

  3. Thank you! So helpful!! Missed watching sumo since I was in Japan (back when my favorite was Chiyonofuji, for his wide range of techniques, and his honorable conduct)

  4. There is a guy on Youtube called “D i” who is streaming the Abema TV coverage every day, starting around 2 pm Japan time which is 9 pm eastern time. It starts during third division and will thus include upper 2 divisions (Juryo and Makuuchi). Try searcing “sumo live”.

  5. Currently another Youtube channel is streaming from the NHK G channel, and a Japanese channel is streaming the same. For the current basho it can be found by searching “Hatsu 2020”. Also check out “Nattosumo”, who makes an excellent video with the essentials of all first division matches of about 30 minutes, uploaded shortly after the transmissions.

  6. Really wish NHK would also do a highlights show for juryo. I know other people who also think it would be nice to see the up-and-comers. Considering the production costs for creating the highlights show must be fairly low, I’m quite surprised NHK isn’t already providing one for juryo. Hopefully they will in the future. In the meantime, I know you can occasionally find alternate videos on Youtube but the channels regularly get deleted and the ones that don’t aren’t consistent with posting every day from every basho. If someone knows a good/reliable source for them, please post. Thanks!


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