March Madness is here. The First Round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins on March 19th. However, the first four teams square off the day before, ushering in what many consider the official start to March Madness.
The NCAA Tournament is one of those sporting events you can catch without paying a dime for cable or satellite TV. Nearly every game of the tournament is available through a streaming service or other means. This guide will explain how you can watch every game without cable. I’ll even cover a way to watch 100% free.
Watch March Madness Online for Free
Before I cover the various streaming services that carry the channels you need to watch March Madness, I wanted to cover how you can watch the whole tournament online for free by taking advantage of these streaming services free trial offers. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament lasts three weeks, with the first games starting on March 18th and wrapping up with the National Championship game on Monday, April 5th. To watch the entire tournament for free use the following steps.
- The Sweet Sixteen happens on March 27 and 28, while the Elite Eight is on March 29th and 30th. Those games air on CBS and TBS, and you can watch using a 1-week free trial to Hulu + Live TV or a 1-week free trial to YouTube TV.
- The Final Four play on April 3rd, and things wrap up with the Championship game on April 5th. All those games are on CBS, which you can watch live using a free trial to Paramount+.
Just make sure you cancel each trial by the time it ends and you will not be charged for the first month.
Watch Every NCAA Tournament Game
This year’s games air on four different networks, CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV. At first, this may make you recoil but fear not. All these channels are available in most areas on a few streaming services. TBS, TNT, and TruTV are available on many services, but CBS may or may not be available based on your location and the streaming service you choose.
March Madness on Hulu Live TV
Hulu Live TV offers CBS is most markets in the country. They also provide TBS, TNT, and TruTV. To see if Hulu Live TV offers CBS in your area, you can use this tool: Hulu Live TV Channels by Zipcode.
If you aren’t in or close to one of these markets, you can still stream TBS, TNT, and TruTV while using a TV antenna to catch your local CBS broadcast. Also, be sure to check out our full review of Hulu Live TV.
Hulu is supported on the following devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
- iOS, Android, and Windows Smartphones and Tablets
- Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and 4
- and much more
You can 1-week sign up for Hulu here. The cost is $64.99 per month.
Other Ways to Stream March Madness
While FuboTV and Hulu are excellent options for cord-cutters to watch March Madness, there are some other options to try.
Sling TV and Paramount+ – Sling TV provides access to TBS, TNT, and TruTV through its blue package. The best thing about the service is there is no contract so you can drop it at any time. You can get their service free for 3-days. After the trial, Sling’s Blue package costs $35 per month. Sling TV is supported on Android and iOS devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Nexus player, Xbox One, and 4th Generation Apple TV. See our Sling TV review for more details. Since Sling TV doesn’t offer CBS, you can still catch those games with Paramount Plus. You can stream your local CBS stations through Paramount+ which s available on Roku Players, Apple TV, Xbox One, Chromecast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Fire TV Stick, and more.
Locast – Locast only offers CBS and it’s only available in limited areas. However, if you live in one of the markets that have locust you can use it for free to watch live CBS. This can be used instead of Paramount Plus in combination with Sling TV.
Update: On September 1st, Locast lost a significant battle in court against the major broadcast networks. The Networks argued Locast "must secure the consent of the broadcasters to retransmit the broadcast signals." Locast defense claimed they qualified for a copyright-law exemption available to nonprofits. US District Court for the Southern District of New York found that Locast is not eligible for an exemption because it uses donations from viewers to fund its expansion into new TV markets. In response to the court loss, Locast said it was suspending its TV service on 9/2/2021.
YouTube TV – This service from Google provides access to your local CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV for $64.99 per month. Check out my review of YouTube TV for information on availability.YouTube TV is available on Roku, Android, iOS (includes AirPlay to Apple TV), and Chromecasts/Chromecast-compatible TVs.
DIRECTV Stream – DIRECTV Stream provides live access to TBS, TNT, and TruTV. They also provide live access to your local CBS affiliate in many parts of the country. You will find all these channels on their “Entertainment” package for $69.99 per month. Be sure to check out our full review of DIRECTV Stream NOW for more information.
DIRECTV Stream is supported on the following devices:
- 4th Gen Apple TV
- Google Chromecast, 2nd gen and higher
- Amazon Fire TV
- Fire TV Stick
- iOS devices
- Chrome and Safari browsers
March Madness Live App
The NCAA does offer an app available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TVs, and Roku. However, the app requires a TV provider login. The app does accept streaming services as a valid provider, but there is a major drawback. The March Madness Live app won’t stream games airing on CBS live if you are using a TV-connected device like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, etc. Consider the finals are on CBS, this is a major deal breaker for cord cutters. I recommend just watching through your streaming service.
You can download the app below on various platforms.
2021 Final Four TV Schedule
|Date||Team 1||Team 2||Time||TV|
|Sat. 4/3||No. 2 Houston||No. 1 Baylor||5:14 PM||CBS|
|Sat. 4/3||No. 11 UCLA||No. 1 Gonzaga||8:34 PM||CBS|
Remaining Tournament TV Schedule
The rest of the tournament will follow below. I will update the TV schedule as the tournament progresses.
- The National Championship is on Monday, April 5th at 9:20 PM ET on CBS
TBS is also set to air team-specific telecasts of the Final Four semifinals and title game in “TeamCast” presentations. These will be on TNT and truTV. TeamCasts will be tailored for a specific team and will have separate announcing teams.
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