Watch 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony Live Online: Start Time, Streaming Video For Friday’s Ceremony From Maracana Stadium

Watch 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony Live Online: Start Time, Steaming Video For Friday's Ceremony From Maracana Stadium

Viewers can watch the 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony live online and see the Summer Games kick off with a massive event that includes thousands of dancers, plenty of fireworks, and some of Brazil’s biggest names.

The official kick-off to the Rio Olympics takes place Friday night, with athletes from around the world streaming into Maracana stadium. The event will be four hours of pageantry and celebration of the athletes competing at this year’s games.

The Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. ET but will broadcast on a one-hour delay. So viewers hoping to watch the event from Maracana stadium will see it at 8 p.m. ET (12 a.m. BST) and also at 8 p.m. in the Central and Pacific Time Zones, with the broadcast on NBC. It will also be available online through a number of outlets in the United States and across the globe (links to streaming video for the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony can be found below, and a full list of start times around the world can be seen here).

Those who watch the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony live online will see an event five years in the making. That’s how long organizers have worked to plan the event and ultimately coordinate the 300 dancers, 5,000 volunteers, and 12,000 costumes used in the program, BBC Sport reported.

One of the most exciting parts of the Opening Ceremony will be the procession of athletes from around the world, from the 554 athletes representing the United States — the most in this summer’s games — to Etimoni Timuani, the lone athlete representing the tiny South Pacific nation of Tuvalu.

There will also be a unique team known as the Refugee Olympic Team, a group of 10 athletes forced to flee their countries due to war or other hardships and who are now competing under the flag of the Olympics. The team has 10 members, five from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from DR Congo, and one from Ethiopia, BBC Sport reported.

“These refugee athletes have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem,” said IOC president Thomas Bach. “The invention of this refugee team is to give them a home in the Olympic village together with all the athletes around the world.”

The themes of the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony will be ecology, diversity, and joy, organizers said this week. But it’s not expected to be as over-the-top as the 2012 London ceremony or the extravagant ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Games. The budget for the event was about one-tenth of what the London Opening Ceremonies cost and one-twentieth the cost of Beijing’s ceremony, the Telegraph noted.

The event’s director, Fernando Meirelles, said it was difficult dealing with some of the cuts to the event’s funding, but he believed it was ultimately the most responsible move in a nation plagued with economic difficulties.

“At first I was very upset, you start thinking something very big and then you have to cut, cut, cut,” he said (via the Daily Mail). “On the other hand, it is good in some way because we are in a moment in the world where we need to be reasonable with the way we spend money. The environment can’t handle it any more, we are warming the planet. It is pretty tacky to be overspending. It is not a good message for the world. When 40 percent of the homes in Brazil have no sanitation, you can’t really be spending a billion reals for a show.”

As with all previous Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the event in Rio on Friday will feature a number of native heroes, including Brazilian model Gisele and football legend Pele.

There will be some other internationally known figures included, the Telegraph added.

“Dame Judi Dench will play a key role by reading a poem by a Brazilian author. She was chosen for the pre-recorded appearance because producers wanted an actress of a similar standing to the 86-year-old Oscar-nominated Brazilian Fernanda Montenegro, who will read the same poem in Portuguese.”

Those who want to watch the 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony live online will have plenty of options. It will be available in the United States through NBCOlympics.com, while viewers in the U.K. can watch the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony online through the BBC. Those in India can catch the action on Starsports.com and Hotstar.com, with coverage starting at 4 a.m.

[Photo by Felipe Dana/AP Images]