What Channel Will March Madness Be On?

Is there anything better than March Madness?

Sure, we all hate Duke, but have you heard about this Zion Williamson kid? He recently defied gravity and blocked Virginia’s DeAndre Hunter from about six feet out. Yeah, it didn’t really seem humanly possible—but it totally happened.

Amazing moments like this happen frequently during March Madness. It’s the single most entertaining tournament in all of sports. (Yeah, I said it. We both know it’s true.) And if you can fleece $10 from Karen in accounting in the company pool, that’s just icing on the cake.

When does March Madness start?

The Madness officially begins on March 17 with Selection Sunday. Things pick up quickly after that.

Here’s a breakdown of the schedule:

  • First Four play-in games: March 19–20
  • 1st and 2nd Rounds: March 21–24 (you might want to take work off)
  • Sweet 16 and Regional Finals: March 28–31
  • Final Four: April 6
  • National Championship: April 8

What channels is March Madness on?

Trust us when we say you don’t want to miss any March Madness channels. I’ll never forgive myself for missing the Loyola Chicago and Miami game last year because I couldn’t figure out how to watch truTV. Never again!

To make sure you don’t miss a single buzzer-beater, here are the channels airing March Madness games:

March Madness channels
DIRECTV channelDISH channelXFINITY channel
View PlansView PlansView Plans

If you go with a streaming service, you can find the right channel just by typing it in and searching for it. Easy as pie.

Your best options for watching March Madness

Whether you want a quick streaming option or want to make sure you’ve got the right satellite or cable package, we’ll walk you through the best options for watching March Madness. We just want to spread March Madness cheer for all to hear.

March Madness TV options
ProviderMonthly priceAvailable channels
Xfnity TV$49.99$104.99260+
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For 12 months with a 2-year contract, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.
For 24 months with a 2-year agreement and eAutoPay.
For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1-year contract.

If you don’t want to look at getting a new TV provider, there are some other options for picking up March Madness channels.

Other March Madness viewing options
ProviderPackage/ProductPriceLearn more
DIRECTV NOWLive A Little$40/mo.View plans
YouTube TVYouTube TV$40/mo.View plans
PlayStation VueAccess package$44.99/mo.View plans
NCAA March Madness appN/AN/AWatch now
AntennaClearstream Eclipse$39.99–$59.99View on Amazon

Price and channel inclusion vary according to location. Data effective 3/7/2019.

DIRECTV—The cheapest satellite option for watching March Madness

No matter which channel package you choose with DIRECTV, it’ll have all the channels you need for March Madness. DIRECTV has a super inexpensive channel package, the SELECT© package, that costs only $35 a month for the first year of your contract. That’s almost as good a deal as whichever team gets Zion Williamson on a rookie contract in the NBA.

So if you’re looking for the cheapest satellite option for watching the NCAA Tournament, look no further. But you should probably do your homework before signing up for a two-year contract.

SELECT­ All Included
TV service type:
TV channel count:
$59.99 a month

DISH—Watch March Madness and lots of other channels too

Just like DIRECTV, you can choose any DISH package, and it will carry every channel you need for watching the NCAA tournament. DISH doesn’t have a super-cheap package like DIRECTV, but it makes up for it with channels galore for a good value.

The most affordable DISH package, America’s Top 120, which currently costs $59.99 a month. As opposed to DIRECTV, your price will stay the same for the duration of your two-way contract.

If you’re thinking about getting serious with DISH, make sure to read up on all the details.

America's Top 120
TV service type:
TV channel count:
$59.99 a month

XFINITY—The best cable option (if you get it in your area)

Good news—you can pick literally any XFINITY channel package, and you can count on having all of your March Madness channels. Of course, cheaper is always better, which is why we recommend the Digital Starter package.

You get over 140 channels for $49.99 a month on a one-and-done contract. And much like every player on Kentucky, you can walk at the end of the year.

XFINITY ends up being cheaper than the satellite options, so you’ll probably want to see if you can get it in your area. If you can get it, and you don’t like the sound of a streaming option, XFINITY is the way to go.

Digital Starter
Xfinity TV - West
TV service type:
TV channel count:
$49.99 a month

DIRECTV NOW—Stream March Madness and tons of other channels


There will come the point where March Madness ends. You will probably have lost some money, and you might feel a little depressed. Let TV fill the void, friend.

DIRECTV NOW offers tons of streaming channels for a very reasonable price. So you can flip between ESPN and HGTV until you’re cured of your March Madness blues.

If you want to go with DIRECTV NOW, you can choose any streaming package, and it will carry all the channels you need to watch the NCAA tournament. The cheapest package covers over 65 channels for $40 a month. With so many amazing options, now you know how Mike Krzyzewski feels.

You can watch March Madness for free with a 7-day DIRECTV NOW trial.

YouTube TV—Stream March Madness now

YouTube TV logo

So did you just roll into work this morning and totally forget that March Madness is starting in like the next ten minutes? If this describes your situation in any way, you’ve stumbled upon the easiest solution: get a subscription to YouTube TV.

YouTube TV is arguably the best paid streaming service around, and it carries every channel you need for NCAA March Madness. Plus, you can watch it on your laptop, your tablet, or even your phone. Whatever will make the boss less suspicious.

It’ll cost you $40 a month, and you can start watching for free with a 7-day trial. Just make sure you’re at least pretending to work while watching the games on your browser. As long as you’ve got some productive tabs you can quickly flip over to, you should be just fine.

PlayStation Vue—Streaming March Madness in style

PlayStation Vue logo
Access package

Where are all my PlayStation owners at? Have you played Red Dead Redemption 2 yet? (Okay, sorry, let’s not get distracted.)

PlayStation Vue does indeed work on PlayStation consoles, but it works on pretty much any other streaming device (including your work computer right now).

If you like the Sony brand, you can go with any PlayStation Vue streaming package to get all the channels you need for March Madness. The cheapest option will cost you $44.99 a month but you can March Madness for free with a 5-day trial.

NCAA March Madness app—Enjoy all the games in the same place

A few years ago, the NCAA launched an app that streams every single March Madness game.

Before you get too excited, there is a catch.

You need streaming, cable, or satellite credentials to use the app. (Now might be a good time to call the parents and see if they’ve updated their cable password recently.)

The app exists with March Madness in mind, so the interface couldn’t be easier to navigate. Just make sure you’ve got a login before downloading the app or watching online.

Digital antenna—Make sure you get all the action on CBS


If you’re a big-time game watcher and you’re all about the Final Four and beyond, you could always just go with an antenna.

CBS will be broadcasting games throughout the whole NCAA Tournament, including everything beyond the Final Four. You’ll pick up a good number on CBS with a digital antenna, but sadly, you’ll miss the games airing on truTV, TBS, and TNT.

But hey, if there’s a good game, you could always just hit up a local bar and watch whatever games you would miss at home.

The question now is what kind of antenna you should get? Don’t worry—we’re way ahead of you.

Let’s enjoy the most wonderful time of the year

The winter holidays are great and all, but March Madness is very much its own kind of magic. From one fan to another, you can’t miss the action. You’d hate to come into the office and have to hear secondhand about some player’s cool dunks.

Got any questions about watching March Madness? Or want to let us know who you think is going all the way this year? (Side note: I think I’m picking Duke. Feel free to hate—I’ve been seduced by the Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett tandem.) Let us know in the comments below!