How to watch March Madness online

It’s official. The NCAA Tournament will be closed to fans in attendance for both the men’s and women’s basketball competitions as concerns over the coronavirus (formally known as COVID-19) continue to grow. NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Wednesday that, after consulting with public health officials and the NCAA COVID-19 advisory counsel, the tournament will be played with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.

“March Madness,” as the tournament is traditionally called, is still one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world. For now, at least, the show will go on. As a result of the fan ban, the only way to follow the action will be to catch a broadcast of the tournament, which begins March 17 and is scheduled to continue through the NCAA Championship on April 6. Here’s all the ways you can watch the action from home this year.

Watching the games on TV

Tournament games will be broadcast on CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV this year. Alternatively, you can watch one of the streaming services listed below.

Streaming options

March Madness Live

Ready for the madness,March Madness Live but don’t have a TV at home? 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, but the championship game is specifically on CBS.

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. The app, available for a litany of different devices (see below), is free.

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.” Any service that offers CBS should work. CBS’ $6-per-moth streaming service, CBS All Access, will also feature all of the tournament games airing on the network itself.

Each of these services will cost you some cash for a monthly subscription, but there are two important caveats: First, they are all 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.

DirecTV Now

To get all the Turner networks on DirecTV Now, you just need to sign up for the $40 “Live a Little” package, which is the cheapest package available. 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

With PlayStation Vue, you’ll need at least the Core plan, which costs $50 per month (Vue offers a free five-day trial). PlayStation Vue is available on the following devices:

Compatible Devices
PlayStation 3/4 Google Chromecast
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 package with live TV channels for a $45 monthly fee. 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
Select smart TVs Nintendo Switch

YouTube TV

Youtube TV logo

YouTube’s fairly new TV platform is only available in select supported locations. The service costs $40 per month after a free five-day trial, and it includes CBS. If your area isn’t listed, simply start the signup 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
Xbox One Xbox One S/X

Other resources

NCAA March Madness YouTube channel

The NCAA March Madness YouTube channel provides fans with highlight clips and game updates throughout the entire championship tournament. 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, such as 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 want 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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