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Cheapest way to stream NCAA March Madness on Roku

The most-exciting tournament in college sports will start this week.

The NCAA March Madness tournament features the top 68 men’s college basketball teams in the country, competing over three weeks to determine the national champion. The tournament, which starts on Tuesday (March 14), begins with the “First Four” games, followed by the first and second rounds, which whittle the field down to the Sweet Sixteen, then the Elite Eight, and finally the Final Four. The Final Four games are held in a different location each year and feature the last four teams standing, with the winners of each game advancing to the championship game.

The NCAA March Madness tournament is known for its unpredictable outcomes and exciting upsets, with teams from smaller schools often defeating more established programs. Millions of people tune in to watch every game, and many of them fill out brackets where they try to predict which teams will advance as they vie for the right to call themselves the national championship (few people are able to fill out perfect brackets).

This year, there’s no shortage of ways to catch every game from the 2023 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament online, which is good news for those who have ditched expensive cable or satellite packages over the last few years. The broadcast rights for the 2023 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament are held by two media companies: Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) will air games on TBS, TNT and Tru TV starting March 14, while Paramount Global’s CBS will air the rest of the games on free, over-the-air television starting March 16.

Here’s the cheapest way to catch all of the action on your Roku streaming device…

The logo of Paramount Global's streaming service Paramount Plus appears in an undated handout graphic.
The logo of Paramount Global’s streaming service Paramount Plus appears in an undated handout graphic. (Image courtesy Paramount Global, Graphic by The Desk)

Stream NCAA March Madness for free on CBS with Paramount Plus

If you aren’t able to pick up your local CBS station or affiliate with a free, over-the-air antenna, you can stream every 2023 NCAA March Madness game broadcast on CBS through Paramount Plus.

To watch the 2023 NCAA March Madness games aired on CBS through Paramount Plus, you’ll need the Premiere package, which typically costs $10 a month and includes live access to your local CBS station or affiliate. If you’re an existing Paramount Plus subscriber (or you get it for free through Walmart Plus or T-Mobile), you can simply visit your account settings page to upgrade to the Premiere package.

If you’re a new Paramount Plus subscriber, or it’s been a while since your subscription was active, you can watch the 2023 NCAA March Madness tournament games aired on CBS for free by following these steps:

  1. Click or tap here to visit the Paramount Plus website.
  2. Sign up for a Paramount Plus account and choose the Premium plan — it’s very important you select the Premium plan, because this is the plan that includes live access to your local CBS station or affiliate.
  3. At checkout, enter coupon code SCHOOLSPIRITS to get 30 days of Paramount Plus for free.

Paramount Plus will only offer the 2023 March Madness games that air on CBS — for games scheduled to air on TBS, TNT or Tru TV, you’ll need to sign up for Sling TV’s Sling Blue package. Typically, the Sling Blue package costs $40 a month, but readers of The Desk who sign up through this special link can watch the 2023 NCAA March Madness games on TBS, TNT and Tru TV for just $20.

(Logo courtesy Dish Network/Sling TV LLC, Graphic by The Desk)

Stream NCAA March Madness on TBS, TNT and Tru TV for $20

While some 2023 NCAA March Madness games will be available on CBS, other games will be exclusive to WBD’s cable channels TBS, TNT and Tru TV. To watch those games, you’ll need a streaming cable replacement — and the cheapest one to watch all three channels is Dish Network’s Sling TV.

Sling TV’s Sling Blue package offers streaming access to more than 40 live cable channels, including TBS, TNT and Tru TV. Typically, the Sling Blue package costs $40 a month, but readers of The Desk can score a special discount that lowers the price of Sling Blue to just $20 for the duration of the 2023 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament by following these steps:

  1. Click or tap here to view the special Sling TV offer for readers of The Desk.
  2. Sign up for a new Sling TV account, and be sure to select the Sling Blue package.
  3. At checkout, the 50 percent off promo will be automatically applied to your account, bringing the cost of the package down to just $20 for your first 30 days of service.

Unfortunately, Sling TV doesn’t have an agreement with Paramount Global to provide live access to CBS, so all 2023 NCAA March Madness basketball games aired on CBS won’t be available through Sling TV. But Sling TV subscriber can still watch the 2023 NCAA March Madness basketball games aired on CBS by signing up for the Premier plan of Paramount Plus; a free trial is available to new and returning subscribers who sign up using this link and the promo code “SCHOOLSPIRITS” at check-out.

The logo of streaming hardware maker and platform Roku.
The logo of streaming hardware maker and platform Roku. (Graphic by The Desk)

Need a new Roku device?

Roku makes it easy to watch every game from the 2023 NCAA March Madness men’s college basketball tournament. Roku supports Paramount Plus —which will offer live access to games aired on CBS — as well as Sling TV, the cheapest way to watch games on TBS, TNT and Tru TV.

Don’t have a Roku device? You’re in luck: The Roku Express HD is on sale for just $25 at Amazon (normally $30). The Roku Express HD comes with everything you need to stream the 2023 NCAA March Madness tournament, including Roku’s super-easy-to-use remote control and speedy Wi-Fi connections for uninterrupted streaming.

Want a bit more power and portability? Check out the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, which is just $40 on Amazon and fits in the palm of the hand. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus also comes with an upgraded (but still easy-to-use) remote control that lets you launch streaming apps and play content using the power of your voice.

All Roku models are powered by the same, simple Roku operating system, which supports thousands of apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus, YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, Paramount Plus, Peacock, HBO Max, YouTube and more.

Some smart TVs — including those made by TCL, HiSense and Element — have Roku’s operating system built right in, with no separate device or dongle needed. To learn more about Roku, click or tap here.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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