SportsPulse: The madness is finally here. USA TODAY’s Trysta Krick breaks down everything you need to know about this year’s tournament.
Unlike the Super Bowl and other recent big-ticket sporting events, cord cutters won’t get to experience the March Madness for free.
The college basketball playoffs, which lead to the “Final Four,” is being telecast on four networks – CBS broadcast, and cable’s TNT, TruTV and TBS beginning March 19 and finishing early April.
CBS will broadcast 24 of the games, while the Turner networks of TNT, TBS and TruTV will show 43.
Viewers of CBS can watch for free, via an antenna, or on the CBS Sports website and mobile app. The CBS Sports app for TVs will not show the games for free, as it did for the Super Bowl. CBS’s All-Access TV app for viewing on streaming will have the games available, via a paid subscription.
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The Turner broadcasts are available via streaming, but only after viewers have authenticated their cable subscriptions. The games are available on an NCAA March Madness Live TV app available via the Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick set-top boxes, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox videogame console and on the Android TV platform.
The March Madness app will also be available for smartphones and tablets. The NCAA is making a free three-hour preview available via the app.
A workaround for cord cutters who want to watch but aren’t ready to subscribe to cable: Do a trial run of cable TV alternative services.
DirecTV Now ($40), FuboTV ($44.95), Hulu with Live TV ($44.99) and YouTube TV ($39.99) all feature CBS in their lineups and free seven-day trials. (You’ll have to enter your credit card and stay on top of things to make sure you decline to subscribe before the trial is over.) CBS All-Access ($7.99) also has a free seven-day trial.
The Sony PlayStation Vue service (starts at $44.99), which also offers CBS programming, has a five-day trial.
Beyond TV, the NCAA has an app for the Oculus virtual reality gaming system, NCAA March Madness Live, promising a 360-degree view of the games.
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