How To Watch March Madness Without Cable
When it comes to being a sports fan, the NCAA March Madness tournament has a little bit of everything. From shocking upsets to Cinderella teams to cutting down the nets in the Final Four, it really doesn’t get much better.
But what if you’re trying to watch the tournament without cable?
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about watching March Madness without cable. We’ll show you what channels you need, what streaming services offer those channels, and which of them will save you the most money.
In This Article
- What Channels Is March Madness On
- Sling TV
- YouTube TV
- Hulu + Live TV
- DirecTV Stream
- Services That Do Not Include March Madness Channels
What Channels Is March Madness On?
First, let’s take a look at what channels are streaming March Madness so we can find a streaming provider that carries them.
March Madness will be broadcast on the following channels In 2023:
Games will also be streamed on March Madness Live, but we’ll discuss that in a minute.
CBS is an over-the-air channel, which means you could watch it for free over the air using an HD antenna, which is great news for those trying to save money. If you’re a casual fan you could certainly stop right here.
The other three channels are cable networks and will require some kind of live TV streaming service to watch. In the next section we’ll go through all of our streaming TV options and figure out what the cheapest way to watch March Madness is.
How To Stream March Madness… In The Cheapest Way Possible
Now that we know what channels we need, let’s take a look at which streaming TV providers carry the March Madness networks. Fortunately, most of these channels are readily available on a number of providers so we have a few options to shop around.
Sling TV (plus an HD Antenna)
The cheapest way to watch March Madness in 2023 is the Sling TV Blue package which costs just $40 per month.
The Sling Blue package gives you access to 41 channels including TNT, TBS, and truTV, but unfortunately does not give you access to CBS since Sling doesn’t carry local channels in most markets, so you would need an HD antenna to watch any CBS games over the air, but for the discount it might be worth the trouble.
If you’re looking for more channels you could upgrade to the Sling Orange & Blue plan for $55 per month which would give you access to 47 channels including ESPN, which is not available on Sling Blue.
Sling TV is available on most streaming devices including Roku, FireTV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Google TV, iOS, Android, Xbox, and many more.
If you’re looking for a more complete streaming option that includes local channels as part of the base plan then YouTube TV is the next cheapest option at $54.99 per month for your first three months and $64.99 per month thereafter.
Although YouTube TV is a good bit more expensive than Sling, it does include local channels as mentioned earlier, plus it includes many other sports channels like the ESPN family of networks, FS1/FS2, NFL Network, NBA TV along with many others in their base package.
YouTube TV can be viewed on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Google TV, PS4/PS5, Xbox, iOS, Android, Vizio, and many other devices.
Hulu + Live TV
Another great option is Hulu + Live TV which includes all 4 March Madness channels for $69.99 per month. Like YouTube Hulu + Live TV includes a wide variety of sports channels like ESPN, FS1/FS2, CBS Sports Network, and many more.
Although Hulu + Live TV is a little more expensive than YouTube TV I would point out that Hulu + Live TV also includes ESPN+ and Disney Plus as part of their base package. If you were going to pay for one or both of those anyway, you’d be saving money by bundling them together.
Hulu + Live TV can be watched on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, Playstation, iOS, Android, and many more devices.
DirecTV Stream is a bit more expensive than the other options but if you’re a fan of other sports, they carry most sports channels including regional sports networks (in their $99.99 per month Choice plan) that carry local NBA games, NHL games and MLB games, so it may be an option worth considering.
You can watch DirecTV Stream on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Android, Samsung, and many more devices.
Streaming Services That Do NOT Include March Madness Networks
Unfortunately, not every live TV streaming service carries all four March Madness networks, including one popular service that ironically caters to sports fans. Let’s take a look at which streaming services are not a great fit for this year’s NCAA Tournament coverage.
Including fubo in this section surprised me. As a sports fan, I really like fubo, but if you’re trying to watch the 2023 March Madness tournament then it’s probably not the best option. At the time we’re writing this fubo does not carry TNT, TBS, or truTV which leaves you with only CBS, which as we mentioned earlier can be had for free over the air.
Outside of March Madness however, fubo is a really good service and is the most affordable way to get some regional sports networks (in some markets) so it’s definitely a service to consider once the NCAA Tournament is over, especially with their 7-day free trial.
As mentioned in our Philo TV review, Philo isn’t the best option for sports fans and that holds true for watching March Madness. Unfortunately, Philo doesn’t carry TNT, TBS or truTV and they also don’t offer local channels in their plan, so it’s not a good fit for college basketball. That said, Philo is a great option for $25 per month, but only for those who are not looking for sports coverage.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of great, affordable options to watch the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Whether you go for the affordability of Sling TV’s coverage to the total package that DirecTV Stream offers, you should be in good shape to enjoy everything March Madness has to offer.