How to Watch March Madness 2023

March Madness is on! Let the biggest NCAA event commence!

Xfinity TV
Xfinity TV
3.8 out of 5 stars
Starting from
Available channels
4 out of 5 stars
Starting from
Available channels
YouTube TV
YouTube TV logo
YouTube TV
4.5 out of 5 stars
Starting from
Available channels
DIRECTV Streaming
DIRECTV streaming
3 out of 5 stars
Starting from
Available channels
DIRECTV Satellite TV
DIRECTV satellite TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
Starting from
Available channels
Chantel Buchi
Sr. Staff Writer, TV & Streaming
April 06, 2023
6 min read

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The best part of the NCAA basketball season is here, and we’re here to tell you the best ways to watch this long-awaited event! (*Happy dance.*)

March Madness 2023 games are officially scheduled to start on March 14th with the First Four, then we get three weeks of following our NCAA brackets.

You can watch all the games on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. Not many services carry the truTV channel, so we're going to highlight the best TV providers to subscribe with for your March Madness entertainment.

When is March Madness 2023?

The Madness officially begins on March 12, 2023, with Selection Sunday. Things pick up quickly after that.

Here’s a breakdown of the schedule:

  • Selection Sunday: March 12 
  • First Four: March 14 and 15
  • First round: March 16 and 17
  • Second round: March 18 and 19
  • Sweet 16:  March 23 and 24
  • Elite Eight: March 25 and 26
  • Final Four: April 1
  • NCAA championship game: April 3

How can I watch March Madness?

March Madness 2023 games will air live on the TBS, CBS, TNT, and truTV channels. And there are a few cable, satellite, and live TV streaming providers you get to choose from. We break them down for you so you can enjoy them after the NCAA tournament is over, as well.

If you don’t have cable or satellite TV, we highly recommend YouTube TV as it is the one of the best all-around live TV streaming services. DIRECTV's streaming service includes premium channels in its plans, and it’s basically a streamable version of DIRECTV's satellite TV service.

If you want cable TV, Xfinity is the best cable TV provider because of its fair pricing and wide availability. If you still want a traditional TV experience and possibly don’t have a decent cable TV provider available in your area, satellite TV providers DISH and DIRECTV are there for you.

If you’re betting on North Carolina or Oklahoma State to win it all, we’re going to guess you want to consider subscribing to one of these TV providers.

What is the best way to watch NCAA March Madness live?
Monthly price
Available channels
Learn more
Data effective 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* All offers require credit qualification, 2-year commitment with early termination fee and eAutoPay.
Plus taxes. Req's purchase of Device. New customers only.
All prices include $5 Autopay & Paperless Bill discount, which may take 1-3 bill cycles to begin (pay $5 more per month until discount begins). New approved residential customers only. 24-mo. agreement required. Offers may be discontinued at any time.
Enter your zip code below to find internet providers in your area for reliable streaming.

YouTube TV is number one for March Madness

How much is YouTube TV?
Monthly price
Available channels
Learn more

YouTube TV has CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV for your March Madness-watching. And for an NCAA basketball fan, that may be all that you need to hear to jump on this service.

But let us highlight more reasons why we like YouTube TV so much.

YouTube TV has an excellent dollar-to-channel ratio. You’ll get major sports channels like NBA TV and NFL Network, you’ll get a variety of channels for the family, and its DVR has unlimited storage space. YouTube TV also offers an NBA LEAGUE PASS subscription for $14.99/month or $49.99 for the whole season.

Check out our YouTube TV review to find more information about the benefits you can enjoy after watching how far USC, Duke, Michigan State, and Utah State get.

View Plans | Read Full YouTube TV Review

How can I stream March Madness 2023 games for free?

You can live stream the men's NCAA basketball tournament through the March Madness Live app or website. The only catch is you’ll have to sign in with your TV provider. So if you (or your parents) are a customer of Xfinity or DISH, for example, you will get access to the live channels that March Madness is airing.

Xfinity TV is the best cable provider for March Madness

How much is Xfinity TV?
TV channel count
Popular TV$50.00/mo.^125+
Ultimate TV$68.50/mo.^185+
Data effective 04/05/23. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^ No term contract. Broadcast TV fee and regional sports fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.

With Xfinity TV you'll be getting all four essential channels for the Madness: TruTV, CBS, TNT, and TBS.

The Popular TV package includes a total of nine sports channels. These channels include ESPN, ESPN 2, and FOX Sports.  The price tag is $50 per month and has slightly fewer channels than the Ultimate TV plan.

For $70, Xfinity's Ultimate TV plan offers everything that the Popular TV option gets you, including 13 more sports channels. Find out what other channels are included in your lineup that you can enjoy between games in our Xfinity TV review.

View Plans | Read Full Xfinity TV Review

DISH is the cheapest satellite TV option for March Madness

How much is DISH TV?
TV channel count
America's Top 120$79.99/mo.°190
America's Top 200$99.99/mo.°240+
America's Top 250$109.99/mo.°290+
Data effective 04/05/23. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
° All offers require credit qualification, 2-year commitment with early termination fee and eAutoPay. Prices include Hopper Duo for qualifying customers.

All of DISH’s plans include CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV so you can take a break from life and just watch Baylor kill it in the game.

At first glance, DISH’s and DIRECTV’s pricing looks somewhat similar, but DISH doesn’t increase its monthly pricing the second year. This is why we choose DISH as the best satellite TV provider.

We got you covered if you need help deciding which DISH plan you should get, but all plans come with family favorites like Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, HGTV, and Nickelodeon.

Take a look at our DISH review for information, but trust us when we say, DISH is not only excellent for the NCAA showdown, but it's the best option for college sports fans as it has all of the NCAA channels.

View Plans | Read Full DISH TV Review

DIRECTV streaming gives you March Madness and premium channels

How much is it to stream DIRECTV?
TV channel count
ENTERTAINMENT$64.99/mo. + tax**75+
CHOICE$84.99/mo. + tax**105+
ULTIMATE$109.99/mo. + tax**140+
PREMIER$154.99/mo. + tax††150+
Data effective 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
** Price subj. to change for new and existing customers.
†† DIRECTV STREAM Device avail. for $5/mo. on 24-month installment agmt for well-qualified customers. Others pay $120 upfront for device. Taxes due at sale. See details.

If you like NCAA basketball and SHOWTIME, you’ll like streaming with DIRECTV.

This live TV streaming service has all four channels airing March Madness games in all of its plans, so you just have to decide which plan is best for you after the event is over.

When you get CHOICE and above, you’ll get three free months of Max, MGM+, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and CINEMAX. But if you go with the PREMIER package, you’ll get STARZ, SHOWTIME, and CINEMAX channels in your lineup.

We'd be remiss to not mention that DIRECTV streaming is our last option for live TV streaming because its dollar-to-channel ratio is higher than the rest, but if you'd prefer a traditional TV feel, DIRECTV streaming is your service.

View Plans | Read Full DIRECTV Streaming Review

DIRECTV is for those who want loads of channels

How much is DIRECTV?
TV channel count
ENTERTAINMENT All-Included$64.99/mo.‡‡165+
CHOICE All-Included$84.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees^^200+
ULTIMATE All-Included$109.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees^^270+
PREMIER All-Included$154.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees^^340+
Data effective 04/05/23. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
‡‡ w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill reqd. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
^^ w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill reqd. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.

DIRECTV has got your back when it comes to watching March Madness live. Pick the best package for you, and it will include CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV.

But there will come a point when the Madness ends. You’ll get NBA TV and MLB Network with ULTIMATE, and you’ll likely want the Golf Channel and Tennis Channel to watch the tournaments throughout the year.

But if you upgrade to PREMIER, you'll get more than 340 channels, including ESPN College Extra, and CINEMAX, HBO, SHOWTIME, and STARZ channels.

View Plans | Read Full DIRECTV Review

Paramount+ for all the games airing on CBS

How much is Paramount+?
TV channel count
Essential (with ads)


Live: yes | On-demand: yes

Premium (no ads)


Live: yes | On-demand: no

All of the March Madness games on CBS can be streamed with the Paramount+ app. Around 24 of the 67 games in the NCAA Tournament will air on CBS, so this isn't a one-stop solution, but it's certainly cheaper than paying for another streaming service.

It's important to note that all games from the Elite Eight and onward will stream exclusively on CBS. If you're looking for a way to watch the Elite 8, Final Four, and the National Championship games, Paramount+ is easily the most affordable option. 

View Plans | Read Full Paramount+ Review

Recap: What’s the best way to watch March Madness 2023?

Of course you’re here because you want to figure out the best way to watch the NCAA March Madness 2023 games with or without cable, so let us recap why an NCAA basketball fan should get one of these services:

  • YouTube TV: YouTube TV has all four channels that will be airing March Madness games, and it’s a live TV streaming service you’ll want all year long for $73 per month. You’ll get over 100 channels the whole family will enjoy and an unlimited DVR storage space so you can record all of the NCAA tournament games.
  • Xfinity TV: Xfinity TV is the best cable TV provider for March Madness watchers since you’ll be getting CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV in your channel lineup for $50 per month. You’ll get 125 channels of entertainment, sports, kids, and lifestyle. But we recommend considering the monthly fees you’ll have to pay with Xfinity before committing.
  • DISH: As the cheapest satellite TV option ($80–$110 per month), you’ll get all four March Madness channels in any of the packages. We can help you pick a package that best fits your family’s needs, but we recommend America’s Top 200 because this plan will get you 23 sports channels.
  • DIRECTV streaming: DIRECTV streaming is second-best to YouTube TV to stream March Madness, but because of its high pricing ($65–$155 per month), it's in the fourth spot on our list. You can get CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV for $65 per month, but you’ll only get 75 channels. YouTube TV is $10 cheaper and gives you 25 more channels. But DIRECTV's streaming service does include free premium channels.
  • DIRECTV satellite TV: DIRECTV's satellite TV service is our last option for March Madness-watching because of its second-year price hikes. But if you believe 340 channels trumps that, then you'll never have nothing to watch!
  • Paramount+: You can watch March Madness games streaming on CBS with the Paramount+ app. Keep in mind that every game from the Elite Eight onward will stream on CBS, making Paramount+ the cheapest option towards the end of the tournament.


The 2023 NCAA tournament's First Four will air on TBS and truTV. 

The 2023 NCAA tournament's Round 1 and 2 will air on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. 

The National Championship game will be held on April 3, 2023 at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. 

Chantel Buchi
Written by
Chantel Buchi
Chantel is all about finding the best tv or streaming service to watch as many football games as possible to keep her Fantasy Football team in check. Prior to being a TV and Streaming Tech Reporter for, she worked for NFL Network and The Alliance of American Football. Before that, she received a B.A. of Communication at the University of Utah and an M.S. in Sports Journalism at USC. Go Utes and Fight On. Contact her at

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