How to watch March Madness online

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

March Madness is arguably the most popular college sport event on TV, raking in money commensurate with the Super Bowl or World Cup. The high stakes of the tournament inevitably create some serious drama, turning even the most apathetic alumni into frenzied fanatics for their alma mater.

After weeks of tough games and upsets that have devastated many a fan bracket, March Madness is nearing the end. Villanova will face Michigan on Monday, April 2 for the NCAA National Championship game. Villanova vs. Michigan is scheduled for 9:20 p.m. ET/6:20 p.m. PT.

Whether you’re a massive college hoops fan, an NBA devotee looking for the next crop of superstars, or simply a person who randomly filled out a bracket in hopes of winning your office’s pool, March Madness has plenty of excitement and entertainment for everybody. Follow our list below to find all the best ways to catch the madness yourself.

Watching games on TV

The Final Four games are being broadcast exclusively via TBS this year. As such, you need to pay for a TV subscription that includes TBS, or one of the streaming services below to watch.

Streaming options

March Madness Live (Web)

Ready for the madness,March Madness Live but don’t have a TV at home? Fear not, basketball fans. All you need to do is visit NCAA’s March Madness Live website for access to streaming games, up-to-the-second stats, and a quick look at the current bracket. CBS and Turner Broadcasting once again team up with the NCAA to offer comprehensive online coverage of all March Madness games, assuring even the most casual fans have the ability to keep up with all the action. Turner’s TNT, TBS, and TruTV join in on the streaming fun again this year, helping bring every Big Dance matchup to viewers across the globe.

This year, March Madness Live has a new wrinkle: Fast Break, a collaboration between AT&T and Lowe’s, is an NFL Red Zone-esque “whiparound” program which will allow fans to catch the first round of the tournament with real-time highlights, updates, live look-ins and commentary for each first-round matchup.

Seem too good to be true? Well, there is a catch. March Madness Live only allows viewers to freely stream the games broadcast on CBS  — a total of 21 this year — without requiring a compatible cable or satellite subscription. Access to the TNT, TBS, or TruTV will be offered free for three hours with the service’s “live pass,” but anything more requires login credentials from providers like DirecTV, Dish Network, and Comcast. Click here to check your local channel listings and availability.

March Madness Live App

March Madness Live App LogoThe NCAA also offers March Madness Live as an app capable of streaming each and every March Madness contest. Once again, any game playing on CBS remains streamable for free, while those taking place on TNT, TBS, or TruTV require a compatible cable or satellite subscription. The app, available for a litany of different devices (see below), is free.

According to the NCAA, Turner’s iStreamPlanet will power streams this year at 60 frames per second across Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Xbox. We think that is probably contingent upon your home network. Plus, if you’re on Apple TV, you can watch up to three games simultaneously.

Compatible Devices
iOS devices Android devices
Apple TV Apple Watch
Amazon Echo devices Amazon Fire tablets
Amazon Fire TV Google Daydream
Mac/PC Chromecast
Roku Samsung Gear VR
Xbox One Select smart TVs

Streaming services

If you want to watch the full slate of games without a pay TV subscription, your best bet is one of these streaming services, nominally known as the “big five.” Don’t worry about finding a package with CBS (since all the CBS games are available for free via March Madness Live, as mentioned above), but you ideally want all the Turner networks — TNT, TBS, and TruTV — if possible.

Each of these services will cost you some cash for a monthly subscription, but there are two important caveats there: First, they’re all going to be cheaper than similar cable or satellite packages, and second (and most importantly) each of them has a free trial of varying lengths, so if you’re new to the service you may not have to pay a dime. Follow below for details.

Sling TV

how to watch the nba finals online sling logo p

If you use Sling TV, you need a Sling Blue subscription ($25 per month), which gives you access to TNT, TBS, and TruTV. With that (in addition to the free CBS broadcasts), you will be able to watch every single tournament game. Sling Blue offers a seven-day free trial, so you won’t get the whole tournament for free, but frugal shoppers can always jump to another service once the trial expires.

The Sling TV app is available on the following devices:

Compatible Devices
iOS devices Android devices
Android TV Roku devices
AirTV Player Amazon Fire devices
LeEco ZTE
Xiaomi Select smart TVs
Apple TV Google Chromecast
Google Chrome Windows 10 (app)
Xbox One

DirecTV Now

how to watch nfl games online version 1505344142 directv now logo white

To get all the Turner networks on DirecTV Now, you’ll just need to sign up for the $35 “Live a Little” package, which is the cheapest package available. Like Sling TV, the service offers a seven-day free trial. DirecTV Now is available on the following devices:

Compatible Devices
Apple iPad Amazon Fire devices
Apple iPhone Roku devices
Apple iPod Touch Android phones
Apple TV Android tablets
Safari Google Chromecast
Google Chrome Select smart TVs

PlayStation Vue

how to watch the oscars online playstation vue logo

With PlayStation Vue, you need to check (just click the little pin icon next to the Start Streaming button in the upper-right corner) to see whether the Turner networks are available in your area. If so, you only need the $40 access plan (the cheapest Vue plan) to watch, and Vue also doubles its trial period over the competitors above, offering a weeklong free trial. PlayStation Vue is available on the following devices:

Compatible Devices
PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4
Android devices Android TV
iOS devices Apple TV
Roku devices Amazon Fire devices
Google Chrome Safari
Firefox Microsoft Edge

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logo

Hulu’s Live TV streaming program, launched in mid-2017, just offers one channel package, for a $40 monthly fee. The Turner networks are available in most — if not all — markets, but head here and enter your ZIP code to see if you qualify. Hulu with Live TV offers a seven-day free trial, and is available on the following devices:

Compatible Devices
iOS devices Amazon Fire TV devices
Android devices Roku devices
Mac PC
Apple TV Google Chromecast
Xbox One Xbox 360

YouTube TV

Youtube TV logo

YouTube’s fairly new TV platform is only available in select supported locations, but it does have a distinct advantage: The service offers the longest free trial of all the choices on our list, boasting 30-days of free TV which will slide you right through the tournament. Barring that, the service costs $35 per month, which includes all three Turner channels. If your area isn’t listed, simply start the sign-up process and it will prompt you to enter your ZIP code.

YouTube TV is available on the following devices:

Compatible Devices
iOS devices Apple TV
Android devices Roku devices
Android TV Google Chrome
Google Chromecast Select smart TVs

Other resources

NCAA March Madness YouTube channel

The NCAA March Madness YouTube channel provides fans with highlight clips and game updates throughout the entirety of the championship game. Visitors have access to pre- and postgame interviews, expert analysis, and plenty of in-game highlights and features. If watching every second of the game doesn’t fit into your evening schedule, periodically checking in via YouTube is a great way to keep up with the action.

The college basketball subreddit

An incredible resource for NCAA fans, Reddit’s dedicated college basketball forum has a constant stream of content submitted by fans. With tournament coverage on tap for the next several weeks, expect a bevy of content related to the Big Dance like team interviews, expert analysis, historical facts, and outrageous memes. Reddit’s loyal user base generates the site’s wealth of content, which is both a blessing and a curse.

You will find a slew of NCAA-themed pictures, videos, and even alternative streaming sites on game days, but again, we caution users to stay away from unsanctioned third-party sites. Disclaimer: While Reddit is an excellent resource for anything and everything March Madness, it’s incredibly easy to waste hours poking around the rest of the site. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

ESPN’s Gamecast

Though not a video option, ESPN offers its signature play-by-play Gamecast presentation for all March Madness matchups. Just navigate to the NCAA scoreboard page via the ESPN website, click the game you would like to follow, and the related Gamecast window opens. This feature shows real-time events including every made dunk, every foul, and every buzzer-beating three. Gamecast also lists each team’s stats, highlight videos, and what is trending on Twitter.

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