Despite that fact that we are still about a month and a half away from the opening tip of this year’s March Madness tournament, it’s never too early to start formulating plans for watch parties and get-togethers with friends. 

If you’re one of the 22 million people in the United States that have cut the cord on cable television, you can still watch this year’s tourney through a number of different providers without chaining yourself to a long-term cable provider. 

One thing worth mentioning before we dive in is that the tournament is carried on CBS’s network of channels, which includes the likes of basic cable options such as CBS itself and other networks such as TBS, TNT, and truTV. The games that are not on CBS will be a bit harder to watch without cable.


Our first way to watch this year’s tournament action has surprisingly stood the test of time – the humble antenna. The antenna has come a long way since the days of the “bunny ears” and the digital antennas that are on the market now are fully capable of delivering crisp HD picture over the air. Since the tournament is carried largely on CBS, you will be able to watch a handful of the early tournament games and virtually all of the games in the later rounds for free via antenna.

Your Local Sports Bar

If you’ve cut the cord on cable and are looking for a great way to experience the games amongst other fans, watching the games at a bar is a great, cost-effective option. By going to a bar, you’ll be amongst hordes of other people who have cut out from their job early just like you. Given the fact that most bars have a ridiculous number of televisions, you should be able to watch any game you want with little effort. On top of being amongst fans, there’s also the added bonus of being able to enjoy a few beverages or some excellent pub food while watching the game. It’s hard to beat that!

March Madness Live App

If you have access to a cable provider’s subscription log-in, the March Madness Live App is certainly your best bet for watching all of the tournament games. If you don’t have a log-in for a cable provider, you can still use the app to watch all of the games offered by CBS on your phone or casted to your TV through Apple TV or Google Cast. The app also offers a one-time, three-hour trial for the games that aren’t airing on CBS.

Various Streaming Services

It’s amazing how far modern technology has advanced the way we can consume television. Nowadays, there is no shortage of fantastic online services that offer live-streaming of television via a litany of different devices. If you’re looking to watch some of the early parts of the tournament totally free of cost, you can utilize free trials that are offered by each of the streaming services listed below. If you end up enjoying the service itself, you can always go back and purchase it once your trial runs out. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the best and most well-known streaming options for this year:

Streaming Service Free Trial Length Supported Devices Monthly Cost After Free
DirecTV Now 7 days Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Google Cast $35.00 and up
Hulu Live TV 7 days Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox One $39.99
PlayStation Vue 7 days Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4/3, Roku $39.99
SlingTV 7 days Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox One $20.00 and up