How to watch March Madness 2023: all your streaming options

Barry Brown #5 of the Kansas State Wildcats attempts a shot against the Loyola Ramblers in the first half during the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament South Regional at Philips Arena on March 24, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Welcome to college basketball and March Madness!

If you’re a fan, no other sporting event comes close. Fortunately, you won’t have to watch a snowy picture on a black-and-white TV that receives its signal over-the-air (OTA) via rabbit-ear antennas like I did as a kid. Instead, you can watch it on a high-end 4K TV through a superior Internet TV streaming system.

Also: The best March Madness apps for your support in 2023

March Madness Basics

  • March Madness kicked off on March 14 with the Men’s First Four on truTV and the Women’s First Four on ESPNU and ESPN2.
  • In these tournaments, the lower-seeded team fights for the “privilege” of facing the higher-seeded team. But, remember, University of Maryland Baltimore Country (UMBC) defeated Virginia in the 2018 tournament. It can happen!
  • CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV will broadcast the men’s tournament. You will find the women’s tournament on the ESPN networks.
  • You can see some of the OTA games. But, to really follow the games, you’ll need satellite, cable, or streaming TV.
  • If you follow multiple teams, like I do, you will also need DVR services as two or more of my teams are sure to be playing at the same time.

All your streaming options

With Paramount+, you can see part of March Madness, but not all of it. Only CBS games are available on this streaming service.

Paramount+, formerly CBS All Access, offers two plans. The first is an ad-supported Essential plan for $5 per month and an ad-free Premium plan for $10 per month. However, you can’t watch the men’s games on TBS, TNT, or truTV, nor any of the women’s games. Still, if you like CBS shows and for whatever reason can’t get CBS on your main streaming services, or if you’re a serious Star Trek fan, it’s worth the money.

Also: The Beginner’s Guide to Star Trek: What to Watch First

One thing to know going in is that Paramount Plus does not have a cloud DVR service. You will have to watch the matches in real time.

The combination of Hulu with Live TV video-on-demand and live TV is a good one, and it also comes with Disney+ and ESPN+ included. For $83 a month, you’ll get your local channel CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. With the ESPN+ bundle, you can get every 2023 March Madness game.

Another advantage is that you can store an unlimited number of videos in your cloud DVR archive for up to nine months.

DirecTV Stream has gone through a series of name changes. In the past, it has been AT&T TV, AT&T TV Now, and DirecTV Now. Whatever you call it, you’ll get CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV even at their cheapest tier, the $75 entertainment package.

For women’s games, this package includes ESPN and ESPN2. But, if your favorite team isn’t one of the best, their games may be on ESPNU or ESPNews. To get them, you’ll need to upgrade to the $100 DirecTV Stream Choice package.

Also: The 5 best sports streaming services

On the plus side, DirecTV Stream now comes with generous unlimited cloud DVR storage. At home, you can watch the game or any other show on up to two streaming devices at once. On the go, you can share your stream with up to three other devices.

Sling TV’s on-demand approach to channels sets it apart from its competitors.

While the others tend to only offer two to four packages, Sling TV offers two basic packages, Blue and Orange, and a wide variety of packages that bundle up to a dozen related channels. However, CBS is not in any of them. For those games, you’ll need an antenna for your local CBS channel or a subscription to Paramount+.

Also: How to use your iPhone as a TV remote

Sling TV’s $40/month Blue plan includes TBS, TNT and truTV. If you also want the women’s tournament, you’ll need Sling TV’s Orange plan. You can get this combo pack at $20 for your first month and $40 a month thereafter. Sling Orange and Blue will allow you to watch games on TBS, TNT, truTV and the main ESPN channels. For the lesser known ESPN channels, you’ll need the Sports Extra package for $11 a month.

To watch these games later, Sling TV’s default cloud DVR offers 50 hours for free. If you need more, and who doesn’t? — you can upgrade to 200 hours for $5 a month.

With over 100 channels, YouTube TV offers more of the most popular channels than its competitors. YouTube TV costs $65 per month and includes all the relevant channels from ESPN, CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

According to CNET’s count, of the top 100 networks, YouTube TV offers the most (79) of any streaming service.

Also: Has your streaming TV bill gone up again? Here’s why I chose YouTube TV

YouTubeTV also has unlimited cloud storage. And you get six accounts to share with your household. For this, you will pay $55 for the first three months and then $65 monthly. You can use this service on three screens at the same time.

FuboTV is all about sports. But it’s not, I’m sorry to say, a great choice for March Madness.

While their starter plan, Pro, has 100+ channels and 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage for $75 a month, it only includes CBS and ESPN. It does not offer TBS, TNT and truTV. You may have heard rumors that these Turner Network channels would be making a comeback, but as it turned out, there was nothing to those tales.

For NCAA Women March Madness viewers, to watch all the games, you’ll need to get the Fubo Elite package, which includes ESPNews and ESPNU, for $85 a month.

To watch these games later, FuboTV’s cloud DVR service comes with 1,000 hours for free.

frequent questions

Can I stream the game from outside the US with a VPN?

If you’re in Canada, you’re in luck. TSN will carry all NCAA men’s and women’s games. In the UK, BT Sport and ESPN Player will broadcast the March Madness 2023 games. If you’re a current BT Sport subscriber, you can watch all the games for free by signing in and streaming. If you don’t have cable, you can opt for BT Sport’s recently introduced online-only plan, which costs £25 per month. However, there is no free trial available for this service. Alternatively, ESPN Player offers a seven-day free trial, and after that the monthly subscription costs £9.99.

Also: The best live TV streaming services

If not, you’ll need a virtual private network (VPN), so you can stream the game from your US streaming service. For travelers, ZDNET recommends NordVPN, ExpressVPNand SurfSharkVPN.

What are the March Madness hours?

Men’s March Madness Schedule 2023

  • First four: March 14-15.
  • First round: March 16-17.
  • Second round: March 18-19.
  • Sweet 16: March 23-24.
  • Elite Eight: March 25-26.
  • The last four: April 1st
  • NCAA Championship Game: April 3

Women’s March Madness Calendar 2023

  • First four: March 15-16.
  • First round: March 17-18.
  • Second round: March 19-20.
  • Sweet 16: March 24-25.
  • Elite Eight: March 26-27.
  • The last four: March 31st.
  • NCAA Women’s Championship Game: April 2.

Can I stream March Madness for free?

Something like. If you visit the NCAA’s March Madness Live site or use their March Madness Live app, you’ll be able to watch games for free… if so, you’re a pay TV subscriber. If not, you can still get a three-hour preview. With ads, that means you’ll only be able to watch a single game.

Also: Want to search across all your search channels? These two apps can help

In other words, this “free” trick only works if you’re already paying for a cable, satellite, or streaming service.

What is the cheapest way to stream the games?

The least expensive option available to watch the men’s tournament is to subscribe to Sling TV Blue and Paramount Plus Premium. By opting for Sling TV Blue at $40/month, you can access TNT, TBS, and truTV games. Plus, with Paramount Plus at $10/mo, you’ll get CBS games. Both memberships combined are $50/month. However, if you’re a new subscriber, you can get 50% off your first month of Sling. This would bring your total cost down to $30 for the initial month.

Also: We found the best budget TVs (starting at $168)

For the women’s tournament, Sling TV’s Orange, $40/mo, with the Sports Extra package for ESPN’s obscure channels, $11/mo, is the cheapest option.

Will the March Madness games be in 4K?

It does not seem. While it is possible that the Final Four will be broadcast in 4K, there have been no announcements about it.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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