Get ready for a different dynamic in the desert now that Michael Bloomberg has qualified for his first presidential debate. The former mayor of New York entered the race late, but made up for lost time by spending millions of his own money on ads, a strategy that appears to be paying off. Bloomberg is surging in the polls, including a recent nationwide survey in which he finished second behind frontrunner Bernie Sanders, outpacing Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. As a former Republican and current billionaire Bloomberg can expect pointed questions from the moderators and his fellow debate-tested candidates. And he's not even on the ballot in Nevada.
The debate will take place in Las Vegas tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. PT (9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET) ahead of the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. The debate will be broadcast live on NBC, MSNBC and Universo. Here's how to watch for free, even if you don't have cable.
Which candidates are in the debate?
Six candidates have qualified so far for the debate:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg
- Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Billionaire investor Tom Steyer and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard both failed to qualify for the debate.
Who is hosting and moderating the debate?
Hosted by NBC News and MSNBC in partnership with The Nevada Independent, the debate will take place at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Here are your moderators:
- Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC anchor
- Chuck Todd, Meet the Press moderator and NBC News political director
- Hallie Jackson, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent and host of MSNBC Live
- Vanessa Hauc, Noticias Telemundo senior correspondent
- Jon Ralston of The Nevada Independent
How can I watch or stream the debate for free?
The debate starts at 6 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on NBC and MSNBC. You'll be able to stream it on NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News mobile app, NBC News' and MSNBC's Facebook pages, and the The Nevada Independent. As with the previous debates, you can watch Wednesday debate for free on NBC's digital platforms without authentication, which means you won't have to sign in at all, just start streaming.
Universo will show the Spanish-language broadcast.
Any other ways to livestream the debate?
Cord cutters who subscribe to a live TV streaming service can also watch the debate. All five major services, listed below, offer NBC and MSNBC, and four of the five offer Universo. The catch is that, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries NBC in your area if you want to watch NBC's coverage of the debate.
Sling TV's $30-a-month Blue plan includes NBC and MSNBC. You can add Universo to the Blue package as part of the Best of Spanish TV add-on for an extra $5 a month. Sling's packages are discounted by $10 for the first month. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live. Read our Sling TV review.
Hulu with Live TV costs $55 a month and includes NBC and MSNBC. The Español Add-on for an extra $5 a month adds Universo. Click the "View channels in your area" link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code. Read our Hulu with Live TV review.
AT&T TV Now's basic $65-a-month Plus package includes NBC and MSNBC. Neither of its plans includes Universo. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live. Read our AT&T TV Now review.
All of the live TV streaming services above offer a free trial, allow you to cancel anytime, and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.
Originally published last year. Updated for the current debate.