Here’s how to tune in.

By Emily VanSchmus
December 17, 2020
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For the last 113 years, excited crowds have gathered in Times Square on New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop at midnight, signaling the start of a new year. But for the first time in over a century, the New Year’s Eve event will be totally virtual this year due to COVID-19 safety precautions. But while there won’t be a crowd gathered in New York City this year, there will still be a ball drop—and you can tune in to watch it from anywhere in the world. 

This year’s New Year’s Eve program begins at 6 p.m. EST on December 31 and will run through the ball drop at midnight. Hosted by Jonathan Bennett, the live (and commercial-free!) broadcast will include live musical performances by Gloria Gaynor and other not-yet-announced artists. According to the official Times Square Twitter account, the theme of this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration is Heroes of 2020. The program will honor first responders, frontline workers, essential workers, and their families.

Credit: Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

How to Watch the Virtual Ball Drop 

All major news outlets air the ball drop, so tune in to ABC, Fox, or NBC on New Year’s Eve to catch the show. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest airs on ABC, New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey airs on Fox, and New Year’s Eve airs on NBC. Check your local listings to find out how early each show airs in your time zone. 

If you don’t have cable—or if you want to tune in on your phone or computer—you can also watch the live broadcast on the Times Square website

What Time Does the Ball Drop?

The ball—which is officially titled the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball—descends on Times Square at midnight Eastern time, which means you’ll need to tune in before midnight if you want to watch it live from another time zone. Here's what time to tune in live from each time zone.

Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time: The ball will drop at 7:00 p.m.

Alaska Standard Time: The ball will drop at 8:00 p.m.

Pacific Standard Time: The ball will drop at 9:00 p.m.

Mountain Standard Time: The ball will drop at 10:00 p.m.

Central Standard Time: The ball will drop at 11:00 p.m.

Eastern Standard Time: The ball will drop at 12:00 a.m.

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