March Madness 2019 Live
March Madness 2019 Live has begun with Arizona State, North Dakota State, Belmont and Fairleigh Dickinson already punching their tickets to the next round. The tournament begins in earnest today (March 21), with 63 more games including the national championship final on Monday, April 8. Best of all, there are several ways to watch the tournament, whether it’s on a TV, smartphone, laptop or streaming device.
Credit: David Klutho/Getty ImagesYou’ll find games spread across four TV channels over the next three weeks. Nowhere near a TV? The NCAA has its own streaming app that works on a slew of platforms. Cord cutters can get their hoops fix, too, if they subscribe to the right service. And you can use a VPN service to follow the action even if you’re traveling.
Here’s a closer look at the many ways you can watch men’s college basketball crown its national champion.
March Madness Live
There’s an app that carries all of the games that would otherwise air on CBS, TBS, TNT and Tru TV in one convenient place. That would be the NCAA March Madness Live offering, which is accessible both through a website and a downloadable app that’s compatible with many different devices.
March Madness Live features all remaining tournament games. There’s a 3-hour free preview in which you can watch games airing on TBS, TNT and truTV, but after that time expires, you’ll need to log in via your cable provider. (Games airing on CBS don’t count against your 3-hour time limit.) That means cord cutters will need to subscribe to a streaming service that includes any of the four channels featuring tournament games if they want to watch more than just 3 hours of hoops this March.
What platforms does the March Madness app worth with?
Name a device, and there’s a pretty good chance there’s a version of March Madness Live that will run on it. Supported platforms include iOS, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Android, Amazon Fire tablets and TVs, Chromecast, Roku players and TVs, and Xbox One, in addition to web browsers.
MORE: Best Streaming Devices – Roku vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV 4K
March Madness Live also works with Amazon’s Alexa-powered speakers. Supported skills include reminding you when specific games are on and checking scores. With the Westwood One app, you can also stream radio broadcasts of games through your Alexa speaker.
Here’s where you’ll find downloadable versions of the March Madness Live app for various platforms.
- iOS (including Apple TV)
- Google Play
- Windows 10 (for Xbox One)
What can I expect from the March Madness app?
Although it’s really only useful during a few weeks every year, NCAA’s March Madness app has been well-maintained over the years and includes a host of outstanding features.
For instance, from the app, you can create your own bracket and share it with friends and family in one spot, so you can see how you’re faring against everyone else. You can also get bracket alerts from within the app and with the Watch tab, quickly go to the games that your picks are in to see how they’re doing.
In addition to being able to watch live games from the app, you can access Video On Demand, allowing you to check out highlights from past games, watch the biggest moments from each game, and even cast your videos from your mobile devices to your screen via Apple’s Airplay or Google’s Cast.
And if you’re an Apple Watch owner, you can get alerts and live scores fed directly to your wrist.
What about streaming services?
As noted above, the March Madness Live app requires you to log in with a cable provider after your 3-hour window of free coverage has slammed shut. If you’ve done away with cable, you still can catch the bulk of NCAA tournament games provided you’re now getting TV through a streaming service.
MORE: Best and Worst Cable TV Alternatives
CBS’ $6-a-month streaming service — CBS All Access — will feature all of the tournament games airing on that network. (There’s a seven-day free trial of CBS All Access available before that monthly fee kicks in.) However, you’d still need to scramble to find games airing on other channels, especially the Final Four match-ups, which will be on CBS.
Other streaming services include access to all four channels showing games. But in the case of CBS, you’ll want to confirm that the service of your choice includes your local CBS affiliate — not every local affiliate is included with every streaming service. Here’s a list of your options, all of which include 7-day free trials.
|Streaming Service||Tier||Channels Included||Price|
|DirecTVNow||Plus||CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV|
|Fubo.TV||Fubo||CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV|
|Hulu||Hulu with Live TV||CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV|
|PlayStation Vue||Access||CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV|
|Sling TV||Blue, Orange||Blue: TNT, TBS
Orange: TNT, TBS, TruTV
|YouTube TV||YouTube TV||CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV|
A current promotion at Sling is knocking 40 percent off the monthly rate for your first three months of service, lowering the monthly cost of Sling TV Blue and Orange to $15 each. On the other end of the spectrum, DirecTV Now just raised its rates and reshuffled its channel packages to just two offerings. The good news is that the cheaper Plus tier includes all the channels you’ll need to watch the NCAA tournament; the bad news is that $50 DirecTV Now charges is $10 more a month than what it was charging earlier this month.
Just in time for the start of the tournament, PlayStation Vue’s service has been updated for the fourth-generation Apple TV, allowing that set-top box to show up to four channels of live TV simultaneously. The multi-view feature for the PlayStation 4 is also getting some enhancements, including new filters for sports and real-time program changing.
How do I use a VPN to watch from outside the U.S.?
March Madness runs from mid-March until early April, but even if you’re away from home during that time, you don’t have to miss out on any of the games. Turning to a VPN service means you can make it seem as if your computer or mobile device is connecting from a different country, allowing you to access the same streaming services you could back home.
We’ve tested and rated many VPN services, and our top pick is ExpressVPN, which will meet the needs of the vast majority of users. It’s got wide compatibility and superb speeds. It costs $12.95-per-month, but that fee goes down if you sign up for 6 months or a year of service.)
Based on our testing, this is the best overall VPN, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like what you get.
This is the service to turn to if security’s your big concern. NordVPN uses 2048-bit encryption, and it includes proxy extensions for everything from Bitcoin and PayPal to credit cards and web browsers like Chrome and Firefox.
If you’re new to VPNs, this is a very good choice, as it’s got a friendly, easy-to-use interface that appeals to novices. You’ll get average performance and pricing.
When do the games begin?
CBS and Turner Sports are splitting the coverage of this year’s tournament. The opening-round games — don’t you dare call them “play-in games,” the NCAA warns — have alreay been played, so we’re left with a field of 64 teams.
With the field set, a full list of when all 32 first-round games tip off now appears on the NCAA’s website. Here’s an overview of when the games take place and where you can watch them.
Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22, on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, starting at noon ET.
Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24, on CBS and TBS, starting at noon ET.
Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29, on CBS and TBS (times not set yet).
Saturday, March 30 and Sunday, March 31, on CBS and TBS (times not yet set).
Saturday April 6, on CBS, with the first semifinal starting at 6 p.m. ET and second semifinal at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Monday, April 8 on CBS, starting at 9 p.m. ET.
Who’s going to win the tournament?
We’d tell you, but then we wouldn’t be the only ones with a perfect bracket, would we?