March Madness Channels: What Channel is the NCAA Tournament On?

March Madness channels

It’s about that time of year again: March Madness is back! And like other sports fans, you want to watch all the action — every hoop, every upset, every buzzer beater. With that in mind, you might be wondering: What are the March Madness channels showing games this season? As has been the case the last few years, March Madness is split across four channels: CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV.

No longer do you have to depend on just CBS giving you the regional game you’re hoping for to get your proper March Madness TV fix. Now, you can watch multiple March Madness channels and be able to watch absolutely any NCAA Tournament game you like — even if you don’t have cable.


Can You Get the March Madness Channels Without Cable?

march madness channels

You might already be aware that CBS is a free, over-the-air network, so no cable needed there. If you don’t have an antenna or a setup to watch over-the-air-TV, no sweat: you can watch CBS games online with no cable subscription (and CBS games only, other than for an unannounced “preview” period of non-CBS games that otherwise call for a cable contract) with the March Madness Live app. Especially since CBS the will be home for the Final Four and National Championship games, you won’t want to miss out on this channel. is likely to show the games as well.

TBS, TNT, and TruTv will be carrying around 70% of the tournament action. Can you watch these March Madness channels legally without cable? The answer, I’m pleased to say, is “yes!”

When it comes to getting access to the other March Madness channels, you’ll want to check out DIRECTV NOW. This streaming service requires no satellite yet it has some similar features to cable, making the switch easy-peasy for first-timers. DIRECTV NOW carries three of the March Madness channels: TBS, TNT, and, TruTv. These are all included in the DIRECTV NOW packages, which start at $35 per month. Though that might seem a tad expensive compared to other services, get this… for that price, you receive over 60 channels (check our full DIRECTV NOW channels list in our review)! Talk about bang for your buck.

Another thing to consider about using DIRECTV NOW to gain access to the March Madness channels is the fact that they run special promotions on occasion. For example, you might receive a free device if you simply pre-pay for a period of service. Plus, there is a 7-day free trial which would be perfect for you to watch March Madness online free for a week. The service is great for on-the-go watching–no mobile restrictions like PS Vue.


Watch 3 of the March Madness Channels With Sling

Sling TV

Sling TV carries all the non-CBS March Madness channels: TBS, TNT, and TruTV, and until we get down to the championship game, that’s all you’ll need. Sling TV (review) allows you to cut cable in more ways than one: you can watch it online on your computer, and there are no contracts, so you can cancel anytime. Not only is Sling TV a sweet, sweet $20 a month, but you also get a 7-day free trial beforehand to give it a test drive and see how you like it. For that price, you get not just the above channels, but scads more including staples like CNN, A&E, and ESPN. Did I mention you get not just live TV, but a selection of on-demand episodes of your favorite shows, too? Yep.

Best of all, Sling TV offers amazing deals from time to time to give you even more incentive to buy. You might be offered a free device or a discount on an Apple TV when you sign up.


What’s the March Madness TV Schedule for 2017?

March Madness begins on Tuesday, March 14, and ends with the National Championship Game on Monday, April, 3, airing on CBS.

This year, opening week coverage will be shared between CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV.

The second round will air on CBS, TBS, and TNT.

CBS and TBS will share coverage of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, and CBS will be the exclusive home of the Final Four and National Championship Game.

To learn more, check out our full guide to watching NCAA basketball online.

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Kevin Beane

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