It’s about time for March Madness to begin, and fans around the world are clamoring to see what this year’s NCAA men’s and women’s basketball teams have to offer. Each game is going to have incredible moments that will be seen in clips and memes for weeks to come. Each team is going to be fighting tooth and nail in the hopes of cutting down the nets in Phoenix or Dallas. If you’re a basketball fan, there’s just no way you can miss March Madness.
Thanks to the popularity of streaming, there were over 80 million March Madness streams in 2015 and more than that are expected this year. If you’re looking for a way to watch the tournaments this year, you will certainly have some options. Both cable users and cord cutters should be able to find a way to watch the games they want to see with a relative amount of ease. The festivities start on March 12 with Selection Sunday and will last until the women’s and men’s championship games on April 2 and 3. The Men’s Final Four will air on CBS, with TruTV, TBS, and TNT picking up some of the slack in the earlier rounds, while much of the women’s tournament will come to ESPN and ESPNU.
The March Madness Live App
While there are many ways to watch March Madness online, the NCAA offers its own March Madness app to serve as a central streaming hub. You can expect most of the men’s games to be available to cable subscribers. If you’re a cord cutter, the March Madness Live app will provide a preview before asking your cable information. To watch the games on your TV or a mobile device, even with a streaming device, you’ll need a cable subscription. Take note that games on CBS won’t be available on set-top boxes like Apple TV or Roku, whether you have a cable subscription or not. The app won’t cover the women’s tournament.
How Do You Want to Watch?
If you are a cord cutter, your best bet, at least for the CBS games if you’re watching on your mobile devices or computer, might be the March Madness app. You’ll get to watch the games on any platform when they air as long as you have cable. Otherwise, you’ll need to look into another live stream option.
Other Ways for Cord Cutters to Watch
Digital Antenna: As most games will air on CBS, it’s worth mentioning that if you have a digital antenna already, this will allow you to watch many of the games. You won’t be able to watch all of them this way, but many of the games are available on CBS, which makes them free to cord cutters with an antenna.
Sling TV: If you want to watch the games on cable stations like TNT, Sling TV is one of the best options. It plays on the most streaming devices and the $20 package gives you access to TruTV, TNT, TBS, ESPN, and ESPN2, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money to see all the games in the series. Sling TV even offers a free trial, so your first week is free. You just won’t get the CBS games.
YouTube TV: The new YouTube TV service has the opposite problem — you’ll get CBS, but not all of those Turner networks like TNT, TBS, and TruTV. You’ll get the women’s tournament on ESPN and ESPN2, plus the bulk of the later rounds of the men’s tournament on CBS, so it’s not a bad option. But, it’s not available on any set-top boxes or streaming sticks outside of Chromecast.
CBS All Access: In addition to the March Madness app, you can watch the CBS games on CBS All Access. Prices are as low as $6 a month and 80 percent of the country has live stream access. If you don’t have access, the games will be available on-demand shortly after they air on TV. And like with most streaming services, the first week is free.
PlayStation Vue: The benefits to PS Vue are that you’ll have a way to watch TruTV, TNT, and TBS in a package that’s under $30. You can stream it on mobile devices PS3/PS4, and other devices. A free week is also available. You won’t have CBS at all, but PS Vue’s mobile restrictions do not apply to TNT, TruTV, TBS, ESPN, or ESPN2.
DirecTV Now: DirecTV Now packages start at $35, and like every other streaming service mentioned, the first 7-days are free. You won’t be able to watch CBS games here, but all the other channels are available along with many other sports and general entertainment channels. You can watch on most devices, although Roku access is not yet available.
These options should make watching March Madness a breeze! And if you’re in need of the schedule, here it is:
2017 Men’s March Madness Schedule
- Selection Sunday – CBS (March 12, 5:30 PM ET)
- First Four – TruTV (March 14-15)
- Round One – CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV (March 16-17)
- Round Two – CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV (March 18-19)
- Sweet Sixteen – CBS and TBS (March 23-24)
- Elite Eight – CBS and TBS (March 25-26)
- Final Four – CBS (April 1)
- Championship – CBS (April 3)
2017 Women’s March Madness Schedule
- Selection Monday – ESPN (March 13, 7:00 PM ET)
- First Round – ESPN2 (March 17-18)
- Second Round – ESPN and ESPN2 (March 19-20)
- Sweet Sixteen – ESPN and ESPN2 (March 24-25)
- Elite Eight – ESPN (March 26-27)
- Final Four – ESPN2 (March 31)
- Championship – ESPN (April 2)