The NCAA March Madness tournament begins tonight. You’ve got your perfect bracket, your snacks, and you’re ready to cheer on your favorite team. Here’s how to catch every one of this year’s 67 games at home or on the go, on the big screen or a small one.
All the Ways to Watch Each Game
The NCAA, in partnership with Turner Sports and CBS Sports, is making the tournament super easy to stream this year. Every game, regardless of where it’s broadcast, can be streamed in one place: NCAA March Madness Live. The free service is available on 12 platforms, including:
The Apple TV app (on the new fourth generation model) even lets you watch two games side-by-side. And all of the available mobile apps support Airplay or can cast video to a Chromecast.
What You Can Stream With a Cable Subscription
The NCAA is streaming all 67 games in the March Madness tournament. Games will be broadcast on CBS, truTV, TBS, and TNT, but the March Madness Live app makes it possible to stream them all in one place. The apps are “TV Everywhere” apps, however, which means you need a login from a cable or satellite TV provider in order to watch every game. In fact, if you have a login you use for HBO Go (or can acquire one somehow), that will probably work here since they’re basically the same thing. Just enter your credentials and you have access to unlimited March Madness streaming.
What You Can Stream Without a Cable Subscription
If you don’t have access to cable or satellite TV credentials, things get a bit trickier. Fortunately, you can still watch some of the big games for free. Every game broadcast by CBS can be streamed with the March Madness Live web site for free, but you won’t be to able stream them on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or use Airplay and Chromecast without a login.
You do, however, have a three-hour grace period for watching games that are being broadcast on truTV, TBS, and TNT (which normally require a login). That’s enough time for about one and a half free games, or, if you’re careful with your planning, the second half of three games you really want to catch the end of. There’s no counter to check your time use, but you will be given alerts for how much time you have left while you’re watching.
If you don’t have access to a login, and you’ve used up your free three hours, you can still get free audio streams through the app. Westwood One is streaming radio broadcasts of all 67 games through the March Madness Live service, which is perfect for when you’re doing work or stuck in the car.
It’s important to note that both the Final Four and the championship game are scheduled to be broadcast on TBS (and there’s a chance your free three hours won’t work for those games), so plan accordingly. Hit up a local sports bar, head to a friend’s house that has cable, or cash in that favor from a friend and “borrow” their cable login to catch those games. For the rest of the tournament, you can see where each game will be broadcast on the official NCAA March Madness bracket and plan ahead (there are plenty of free CBS games). Also, the NCAA March Madness app lets you set up notifications for when your favorite teams are going to play so won’t ever miss tip off. Today’s games, for example, are part of the fairly new “First Four” round, where the lowest seeds essentially play each other for the chance to be in the normal bracket. Your free three hours of streaming are probably best saved for some of the bigger upcoming games.