How to Watch March Madness 2024

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

Xfinity TV
Xfinity
Xfinity TV
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starting from
$20
/mo
Channel Count Range
10-185
DISH
Dish
DISH
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$84.99
/mo
Channel Count Range
190-290
YouTube TV
YouTube TV logo
YouTube TV
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$34.99
/mo
Channel Count Range
30-100
DIRECTV via Internet
Directv stream correct logo (2023)
DIRECTV via Internet
3 out of 5 stars
3
Starting from
$69.99
/mo
Channel Count Range
90–185
DIRECTV Satellite TV
Directv
DIRECTV satellite TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starting from
$59.99
/mo
Channel Count Range
75-150
Chantel Buchi
Tyler Abbott
Mar 18, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

The seeding has been set and March Madness is officially upon us. It's the most exciting event in sports all year long and we're here to make sure you don't miss any of the action.

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.

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When is March Madness 2024?

The Madness officially begins on March 17, 2024, with Selection Sunday. Things pick up quickly after that.

Here’s a breakdown of the schedule:

  • First Four: March 19 and 20
  • First round: March 21 and 22
  • Second round: March 23 and 24
  • Sweet 16:  March 28 and 29
  • Elite Eight: March 30 and 31
  • Final Four: April 6
  • NCAA championship game: April 8

How can I watch March Madness?

March Madness 2024 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 internet 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
YouTubeTV$72.99/mo.30-100
Xfinity$50.00–$68.50*10-185
Dish$84.99-$114.99190-290
Directv stream correct logo (2023)$69.99-$159.9990-185
Directv$69.99-$159.99^75-150
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Pricing for some packages are for the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1-year contract.
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.

Your streaming quality can only be as good as your internet connection, which is especially important with live sports. A slow internet connection makes your stream blurry and you fall behind the real time action. In other words, you should probably stay off Twitter because you'll probably get the ending spoiled before you even get to the final buzzer on your stream.

If you feel like your internet connection will put you behind the March Madness action, it might be time for an upgrade. Here are our picks for the best internet providers in the country: 

Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Learn more
$70-$150°1000-8000 Mbps
$55-$225**300-5000 Mbps
$60-$60††245-245 Mbps
$49.99-$89.99‡‡300-2300 Mbps
$19.99-$89.9930-1000 Mbps^^
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
° Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.
** Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
†† w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.
‡‡ Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
^^ Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.

YouTube TV is number one for March Madness

How much is YouTube TV?
Monthly price
Available channels
Learn more
YouTubeTV$72.99/mo.30-100
Data as of 04/20/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

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 2024 games for free?
Megaphone

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?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Popular TV$50/mo.°°125+
Ultimate TV$68.5/mo.°°185+
°° 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?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
America's Top 120$84.99/mo.***190
America's Top 120 Plus$99.99/mo.190
America's Top 200$104.99/mo.***240+
America's Top 250$114.99/mo.***290+
*** 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 any plan will work for catching March Madness.

At first glance, DISH’s and DIRECTV’s pricing looks somewhat similar, but once you move past entry-level packages, DIRECTV's prices go way up. 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 gives you March Madness and premium channels

How much is DIRECTV?
Plan
Price
Internet TV channel count
Satellite TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT$69.99/mo. + tax†††90+75+
CHOICE™$84.99/mo. + tax†††125+105+
ULTIMATE$114.99/mo. + tax†††160+140+
PREMIER$159.99/mo. + tax†††185+150+
††† Price subj. to change for new and existing customers.

New approved residential customers, price incl. TV pkg & equip. fees for first TV. Add’l fees may apply to non-qualified customers. Early agmt termination fee applies ($20/mo.) & add’l fee(s) may apply if equip. not returned. Credit card req’d. Restr’s apply. $19.95 activation & equipment lease req’d for satellite customers. Equipment lease req’d for DIRECTV via Internet customers in some sales channels.

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. You can order DIRECTV service via satellite dish or internet connection. (We recommend the internet route, as you'll dodge a two-year contract and get more channels).

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 150–185+ channels, including ESPN College Extra, as well as Max, CINEMAX, HBO, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, and STARZ channels.

With any plan, you get three free months of Max, MGM+, STARZ, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, and CINEMAX. But if you go with the PREMIER package, you’ll get all of these channels (besides MGM+) in your lineup. You can get DIRECTV through an internet connection or satellite dish, depending on your preference. Both services are the same price, but you'll pay more in fees with the satellite connection.

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

View Plans | Read Full DIRECTV Review

Paramount+ for all the games airing on CBS

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

$4.99/mo.

Live: yes | On-demand: yes

Premium (no ads)

$9.99/mo.

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 2024?

Of course you’re here because you want to figure out the best way to watch the NCAA March Madness 2024 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 ($85–$115 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: DIRECTV's internet streaming service is second-best to YouTube TV to stream March Madness, but because of its high pricing ($70–$160 per month), it's in the fourth spot on our list. You can get CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV for $70 per month, but you’ll only get 90 channels. YouTube TV is $10 cheaper and gives you 10 more channels. But DIRECTV's service does include free premium channels with all of its plans. 
  • 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.

FAQs

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 Reviews.org, 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 chantel@reviews.org

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