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March Madness games to be widely available on streaming services

This is the first year a cable-like service won't be needed to watch all games from the NCAA Men's Division I College Basketball tournament on CBS and TNT Sports

This is the first year a cable-like service won't be needed to watch all games from the NCAA Men's Division I College Basketball tournament on CBS and TNT Sports

A close-up image of a basketball.
(Stock image)

Every spring, college basketball explodes in a frenzy known as March Madness. This single-elimination tournament crowns the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Champion, but it’s become much more than just a game. It’s a cultural phenomenon, gripping the nation with its thrilling upsets, Cinderella stories, and buzzer-beaters.

For years, the March Madness tournament was split between broadcast television (CBS) and cable (TBS, TNT and Tru TV) — and college basketball fans who wanted to watch the entire tournament had no choice but to buy cable or satellite TV if they wanted to catch all the action.

These days, things are much simpler: The March Madness basketball tournament is widely available on streaming services that replicate the cable experience — but choosing which service to buy (or, in some cases, try out for free) is incredibly important if you want to watch all the action.

Read on to learn more about the March Madness tournament and how to watch all the games via streaming TV:

How do I stream March Madness games that are on CBS?

Paramount Plus with Showtime will offer streaming access to March Madness tournament games aired by CBS. (Graphic by The Desk)
Paramount Plus with Showtime will offer streaming access to March Madness tournament games aired by CBS. (Graphic by The Desk)

The cheapest way to watch the CBS games of the NCAA March Madness tournament is to sign up for Paramount Plus with Showtime, which costs $12 per month or $120 per year and includes live access to local CBS stations and affiliates.

Paramount Plus with Showtime doesn’t just offer streaming access to CBS: Subscribers will also get the East Coast and West Coast feeds of Showtime, plus access to hundreds of TV shows and movies from Paramount Pictures, Showtime, CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Comedy Central, BET and more — all from within the Paramount Plus app on streaming TVs, phones, tablets and the Paramount Plus website.

Paramount Plus with Showtime offers a seven-day free trial, so streamers can try out the service before they commit to buying it. To try out Paramount Plus with Showtime for free, click or tap here. (Note: Only the Paramount Plus with Showtime tier will offer live access to CBS and NCAA March Madness games — the Paramount Plus Essentials plan does not include basketball games.)

Paramount Plus with Showtime is available on many streaming TV platforms, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV (Google TV) and Roku, along with some smart TV platforms made by Sony, LG, Samsung and Vizio.


How do I stream March Madness games that are on TBS, TNT and Tru TV?

Max will offer March Madness games from TBS, TNT and Tru TV through the B/R Sports section. (Graphic by The Desk)
Max will offer March Madness games from TBS, TNT and Tru TV through the B/R Sports section. (Graphic by The Desk)

CBS will only offer a portion of the 2024 March Madness tournament games — the rest of the games will air on TNT Sports cable networks like TBS, TNT and Tru TV.

Historically, the only way to watch March Madness games on TBS, TNT and Tru TV was to sign up for a cable, satellite or streaming cable-like service. This year, that won’t be the case: All March Madness games offered by TNT Sports will stream on Max through the Bleacher Report (B/R) Sports section.

Max typically costs between $10 and $20 per month (or $100 to $200 per year), depending on the subscription plan. But, for a limited time, new customers who sign up for an annual subscription to Max by clicking or tapping this link can save over 40 percent off their bill for the first 12 months of service. Even better — the deal is also available to former subscribers who sign up via this link, as well as current monthly and annual subscribers who renew by clicking or tapping this link.

All Max subscription tiers include the B/R Sports add on (for a limited time), which will unlock access to all 2024 March Madness games aired on TBS, TNT and Tru TV — no cable or satellite package required.

Here is a breakdown of the different Max subscription plans:

Max with Ads typically costs $10 per month or $100 per year, and allows streamers to watch content from Max with short ad interruptions on up to two devices at once. When streamers pay for a year by clicking or tapping this link, the price of Max with Ads is reduced to $70 for the first year, a discount of 42 percent off the normal monthly rate.

Max Ad-Free costs $16 per month or $150 per year, and includes everything in Max with Ads — except, of course, the ads. On top of commercial-free streaming, Max Ad-Free allows streamers to download 30 movies or TV episodes to their phones and tablets for offline viewing. When streamers pay for a year of Max Ad-Free by clicking or tapping this link, the price is lowered to $105 for the first year, a savings of 45 percent off the normal monthly price.

Max Ultimate Ad-Free costs $20 per month or $200 per year, and includes everything in Max Ad-Free along with additional perks. The number of devices that can stream content at once is increased to 4, the number of offline downloads goes up to 100, and content streams in ultra-high definition (UHD/4K) resolution with Dolby Atmos immersive audio on supported devices like smart TVs and some phones and tablets. When streamers pay for a year of Max Ultimate Ad-Free by clicking or tapping this link, the price is lowered to $140 for the first year, a savings of 45 percent off the normal monthly price.

New, former and existing Max subscribers can grab the annual discount when they sign up for service via this link.

Max is offering a deep discount on annual subscriptions ahead of the NCAA March Madness tournament. (Screen capture by The Desk)
Max is offering a deep discount on annual subscriptions ahead of the NCAA March Madness tournament. (Screen capture by The Desk)

How do I stream March Madness games from CBS, TNT, TBS and Tru TV from a single streaming service?

Switch apps can be a headache — sometimes, you just want one app to watch all the live sports you can, including every game from the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament.

Here is some good news: This year, there are a handful of streaming services that will let you watch every live game from the 2024 NCAA March Madness game aired on CBS, TBS, TNT and Tru TV — no contract, no commitment, no switching apps.

One of the best services to stay on top of the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament is DirecTV Stream, which offers live access to local CBS stations as well as national networks like TBS, TNT and Tru TV. Right now, new customers who sign up for DirecTV Stream’s Entertainment package will get $30 off their first month of service — and DirecTV Stream will even throw in their Sports Pack add-on for free. That means additional sports from ESPN, Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports Network, Golf Channel, TUDN, MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, NHL Network, Tennis Channel and lots more. To get the deal, new customers have to sign up by clicking or tapping this link. DirecTV Stream is available on all major streaming TV platforms (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and most newer-model Samsung TVs), along with popular phones, tablets and computers.

Another great service to stay on top of the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament is Hulu with Live TV, which includes CBS, TBS, TNT and Tru TV. Hulu with Live TV also offers other major sports channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and CBS Sports Network (more sports channels are available via an add-on). While Hulu with Live TV isn’t offering any special deals right now, new customers who sign up by clicking or tapping this link will also get free access to Hulu’s on-demand content library as well as Disney Plus and ESPN Plus as part of their package. Hulu with Live TV is available on smart TVs, streaming platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, popular smartphones and tablets.

Basketball on television.
(Screen capture by The Desk)

Can I watch all NCAA March Madness games on Sling TV?

While Sling TV is a great option for streamers on a budget, it will only offer a portion of the games from the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament. Games airing on TBS, TNT and Tru TV are available within the Sling Orange or Sling Blue package, which start at $40 per month (currently half off to new customers who sign up by clicking or tapping this link), but games airing on CBS are not available because Sling TV does not carry CBS local stations and affiliates.

Current Sling TV subscribers who want to watch all games from the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament should add Paramount Plus with Showtime to get access to games airing on CBS. Paramount Plus with Showtime costs $12 per month or $120 per year; new and former Paramount Plus with Showtime subscribers can get a free trial by clicking or tapping here.


Can I watch all NCAA March Madness games on Fubo?

Fubo is a great way to watch live sports — unless you are a college basketball fan who wants to stay on top of the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament. While Fubo does offer live CBS stations and affiliates across the country, it currently doesn’t offer TBS, TNT or Tru TV — which means many of the games airing exclusively on cable TV won’t be available to Fubo subscribers unless they purchase a different service.

If you are a Fubo subscriber, consider subscribing to Max, which is currently offering over 40 percent off their annual plans when streamers sign up by clicking or tapping this link. Max will offer streaming access to all NCAA March Madness games airing on TBS, TNT and Tru TV via their B/R Sports section, which will be included in all Max plans during the NCAA March Madness tournament.

Current and former Max subscribers can also score more than 40 percent off an annual subscription when they click or tap this link.


CBS Sports offers a printable NCAA March Madness bracket. (Courtesy photo)
CBS Sports offers a printable NCAA March Madness bracket. (Courtesy photo)

When does the NCAA March Madness tournament start?

The 2024 March Madness tournament is divided across several sections — First 4, First Round, Second Round, Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4 and the National Championship game. The First 4 games began airing on Tru TV on Wednesday, March 20.

The First Round of the NCAA March Madness tournament kicks off with a game between Michigan State and Mississipp State on Thursday, March 21 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS. The rest of the First Round will air on CBS, TNT, TBS and Tru TV between Thusrday, March 21 and Friday, March 22.

The Second Round of the NCAA March Madness tournament begins on Saturday, March 23 and runs through Sunday, March 24, with games aired on CBS, TBS, TNTN and Tru TV.

The Sweet 16 round will see the top 16 college basketball teams competing in a “Win or Go Home” scenario, with games slated to air between Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29 on CBS (Paramount Plus with Showtime) and TBS (Max).

The Elite 8 round will pit the top 8 college basketball teams against each other, with games airing between Saturday, March 30 (TBS only, available on Max) and Sunday, March 31 (CBS only).

The Final 4 round will air Saturday, April 6 only on TBS (and stream via Max), while the National Championship game will air Monday, April 8 only on TBS (Max).

To fill out or download an NCAA March Madness bracket, 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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