How to Watch March Madness without Cable
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It’s nearly March, which means it’s time to watch March Madness! In a few weeks, college basketball fans become obsessed with catching all the action, hoping their team will cut down the nets at the end of it all. Many fans want to know how to watch March Madness without cable, fearing they can’t watch games without a cable contract.
Thankfully, that’s not the case. You can watch March Madness live without cable. We cut the cord over four years ago, and this post explains how we watch March Madness every year and save buckets of money.
What Channel is March Madness on?
Most sports fans know you need ESPN to watch most games – here’s how to watch ESPN without cable. Unfortunately, ESPN does nothing to help you watch March Madness.
Here are the channels you need to watch March Madness:
Aside from CBS, all of the channels typically come with a traditional cable contract. Thanks to the best streaming providers, you can stream March Madness games live without a pricey contract.
If you work it right, you can even watch March Madness games for free, but it does take some work.
Best Ways to Watch March Madness without Cable
Are you obsessed with college basketball but don’t like a cable contract? Here’s how to watch March Madness without cable:
1. Hulu Live
Not every streaming platform provides access to local channels. This can pose a problem for those who want to watch NCAA March Madness without cable.
Hulu Live is the best option to watch March Madness because they offer local channels. The service also offers TBS, TNT, and TruTV as part of their base plan.
This lets you watch all the action and not deal with other providers. Other things to like about Hulu Live are:
- 60+ live TV channels
- Cloud DVR, with up to 50 hours of storage
- Stream on two devices at once
- Access to their full library of original content
Hulu Live works on a wide array of devices, so you don’t need to worry about having a special device to access the platform.
Hulu Live costs $54.99 per month, with no contract. This provides you access to all of their channels, plus all of their original content and on-demand movies.
Check out our Hulu with Live TV review to learn more about how it works and what channels they provide.
Try the 7-day free trial to see if the Hulu Live platform is for you.
2. Sling TV
Sling TV is a close runner-up to Hulu Live to streaming March Madness without cable. The Sling platform is the no-contract arm of Dish TV and gets you access to 30 channels for $25 per month.
As a part of the base package, you can get TBS, TNT, and TruTV. Please note you will need to select the “Blue” package to get TruTV. It costs the same as their “Orange” package but has slightly different channels.
You will notice Sling TV does not offer CBS, so you can’t watch all March Madness games with Sling TV. In fact, Sling TV only offers CBS and other locals in a select few cities.
You will need other options to get games on CBS, which are detailed below.
Other things to like about Sling TV are:
- They’re one of the cheapest streaming providers in the market
- Stream on up to three devices at once with Sling Blue
- Ability to add customized channel packages for just $5 per month
- Cloud DVR, but costs $5 per month
Check out our guide on Sling TV packages to learn more about the platform and what channels they provide.
Try the 7-day free trial to see if Sling TV is for you.
FuboTV got its start in soccer. Specifically, broadcasting more international soccer matches than anyone else. Today, it’s a full-fledged streaming provider offering access to lifestyle channels and sports content, among other content.
Like Hulu Live, fuboTV carries all four channels that show March Madness games. The streaming provider also offers CBS, so it gives them a leg up over Sling TV to catch games.
The one drawback is that fuboTV does not offer ESPN. However, fuboTV carries numerous other sports channels. In addition to Fox Sports and other mainline sports channels, fuboTV offers:
- NBA TV
- NFL Network
- BeIN Sports
- Big Ten Network
FuboTV is a bit on the expensive side, with a monthly cost of $54.99. However, you get over 100 channels with the base package. The base package also offers a free DVR with 30 hours of space and you can watch on two screens at once.
Try the 7-day free trial to see if fuboTV is for you.
4. AT&T TV Now
AT&T TV Now is the no-contract arm of DirecTV. AT&T TV Now is a solid option to watch NCAA March Madness 2020 without cable as you can access TBS, TNT, and TruTV in their base package.
*Related: Looking for a cheap cable alternative? Check out our Hulu Live TV channels list guide for why they’re a great solution to cut the cord.*
The base package costs $65 per month and in many markets also provides access to CBS. If you live in a market without CBS, you will need an antenna or CBS All Access to get all games.
Other things to like about AT&T TV Now are:
- Base package offers 45+ channels
- Cloud DVR, with up to 20 hours of storage
- Can stream up to two devices at once, add $5 per month for one more device
The one big downside to AT&T TV Now is it gets expensive quickly. However, if you’re desperate to watch March Madness it does the trick.
Check out our AT&T TV Now review to learn more about the platform and the free trial.
5. CBS All Access
CBS All Access is a suitable choice to watch March Madness live without cable, particularly if you choose Sling TV as your streaming provider.
They let you stream any CBS content directly on your computer, phone, or smart TV. You can also live stream any of their content with the service.
This lets you watch March Madness games online – as long as they’re on CBS.
CBS All Access has two plan options. You can get it with limited commercials for $5.99 per month, or commercial free for $9.99 per month.
Try the 7-day free trial to see if CBS All Access is for you.
6. YouTube TV
If you want a streaming provider to watch March Madness online, YouTube TV may be the option for you. YouTube TV, unlike Sling TV, offers CBS in most markets.
YouTube TV is also fully customizable, allowing you to have up to six accounts per household. Most other streaming providers do not offer that many accounts.
Other things to like about YouTube TV are:
- 60+ live channels
- Unlimited storage DVR
- Stream on up to three devices at once
One other thing to consider with YouTube TV is they’re lacking in some lifestyle channels such as HGTV. Here’s how to watch HGTV without cable.
YouTube TV also offers a 7-day free trial to test out the platform. After the trial period, YouTube TV costs $50 per month.
7. Digital Antenna
The final way to watch March Madness without cable is with a digital antenna. A digital antenna is one of the best tools to get content when you cut the cord.
Through it, you can watch local TV without cable and without being held hostage by streaming providers who don’t offer local channels. Additionally, a digital antenna is only a one-time cost.
Most digital antennas are simple to install, and often cost $50 or less. A digital antenna will let you watch any March Madness games on CBS, so you’ll need a streaming provider for games on TBS, TNT, or TruTV.
Check out the best digital antennas on Amazon to watch local TV.
Watch March Madness Live Online for Free
Many people want to know how to watch March Madness online for free. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. Although the NCAA does offer a March Madness live stream from their website, you need a cable login to access the games.
You can access up to three hours for free through the NCAA Fast Break Stream, but it requires a cable login to get anything beyond that.
When is March Madness?
The March Madness schedule varies each year. Here is the schedule for March Madness 2020:
- Selection Sunday – March 15
- First Four – March 17 – 18
- 1st/2nd Rounds – March 19 – 22
- South Regional – March 26 and 28
- West Regional – March 26 and 28
- East Regional – March 27 and 29
- Midwest Regional – March 27 and 29
- Final Four, National Championship – April 4 and 6
As you can see, it’s nearly three weeks of college basketball at its best.
2020 March Madness TV Schedule
If you want to know where to watch March Madness, here is the March Madness 2020 TV schedule:
- Selection Sunday – CBS
- First Four – truTV
- First and Second rounds – CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV
- Regional Semifinals and Finals – CBS and TBS
- Final Four and National Championship – CBS
As you can see, this year you don’t even need a streaming provider to watch the Final Four and National Championship. A digital antenna will get you those games with no recurring cost.
What is the best way to watch NCAA March Madness live?
Unfortunately, there is no good way to watch March Madness online for free. The streaming option provided by the NCAA does eventually require a cable login.
Thankfully, you can get most, if not all, of the 67 total games through a streaming provider. You can take advantage of free trials to find the best provider for your needs.
Don’t feel a need to stay saddled with your $110+ per month cable contract to watch March Madness. You simply don’t need it.
How to Watch March Madness without Cable: Bottom Line
I love March Madness! Many feel the same way and want to know how to watch March Madness live without cable. There are several ways you can watch all the games without tying yourself to an expensive monthly plan.
Nearly all of the streaming providers above work on a wide array of devices. Many of them also offer free trials to let you test out their service.
Take it from a fellow sports nut; you don’t need cable to watch your favorite games. It’s possible to see all the action and save $50+ per month.
How do you stream March Madness without cable? What’s one channel that’s keeping you from cutting the cord? If you’ve cut the cord, how much are you saving each month?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.