With nearly three weeks of top-class sporting action to look forward to, it's time to start planning your viewing schedule and work out how and where you're going to what the 2019 March Madness excitement. Of course, few people have the time or money to travel around watching each game live, so figuring out how to get all the action on cable or via live streaming is vital if you’re going to catch all the March Madness action without descending into insanity.
How to Watch March Madness on Cable
If you have cable TV, then getting access to the March Madness action won’t be a problem. Several channels will be covering the games, although the networks that have the broadcasting rights are CBS Sports and Turner Sports. This means that live coverage will be shown on their sister channels, as well, including CBS Sports, TBS, TNT, and truTV, although only CBS will be covering the final two matches of the tournament.
The full cable schedule looks like this:
- First Four – on truTV
- First and Second Rounds – on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV
- Regional Semifinals and Finals – CBS and TBS
- Final Four – on CBS
- Championship – on CBS
How to Watch March Madness Online Free
The official NCAA website will be covering the last 24 games which means that, as long as you’re in America at the time and have a compatible device and access to the internet, you can watch these matches for free. If you’re going to be overseas during March Madness, however, it’s a different kettle of fish altogether, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
In the meantime, for those of you who will be watching from home, school, the office, a friend’s house or even your garage, there are numerous apps available that will enable you to watch this year’s March Madness on any device, from an Android smartphone to a Kindle Fire or even an Xbox.
CBS has two free apps available that are compatible with most operating systems and will give you easy access to all the matches covered by CBS.
CBS All Access and CBS Sports both offer live streaming of sports events, although CBS Sports is better for the real sports fanatics out there, providing the latest news and scores as well as live streaming.
There are a host of other apps available that give you live streaming access, including the official NCAA March Madness Live app which will give you access to the games and enable you to replay the highlights, listen to live radio broadcast of all the 67 games, and let you play the NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge. The only limitation on this is that NCAA is only giving viewers three hours of free coverage, after which you’ll need a TV subscription to watch any of the games not being shown on CBS.
Of course, those of you who’ve been clever enough to install a VPN (or who are about to do so after reading this article), will be able to get around the three-hour time limit. As a VPN has the capacity to create an alternate IP address to the one allocated to your device and geographical location, by changing the server every three hours, you’ll be able to carry on watching the game with only a momentary interruption.
It is important, however, to note that coverage will be geo-blocked so anyone connecting from overseas or via a server situated outside of the USA, will be unable to access live streaming.
Some social media channels will have limited coverage of some of the games. For example, you should be able to watch the highlights on YouTube, while Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter usually have some live streaming available.
According to the general manager of NCAA Digital, “If I’m a fan of the tournament, I’m going to watch it everywhere I can, and it just depends on what suits me at the time and where I am”.
How to Watch March Madness Online Paid
Maybe you already have a subscription to an online TV service, or perhaps you’ve been considering signing up and have decided that the adrenaline-fueled March Madness action is the motivation you’ve been waiting for. Even if you haven’t considered paying for online TV up until now, it’s well worth giving it some thought, especially as many service providers have limited free trials available.
Some of the top online TV channels that will be showing the live March Madness action this year are:
How to Live Stream March Madness Overseas
One of the biggest benefits of subscribing to a streaming platform is being able to watch your favorite sporting events wherever you go, from the office, the gym or the bedroom. For the globetrotters among you, online TV also means you can watch US broadcasts even while overseas. Unfortunately, as with many sporting events, March Madness coverage is limited to people situated in the US so, if you’re heading to Chile for the wine harvest festivals or to Singapore for a business meeting, you could miss out.
Fortunately, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers a simple solution to this problem. As we mentioned earlier, a good VPN will enable you to create a fake US IP address so that, when you tune in to the first March Madness match on 4th March, you won’t be faced with a blank screen telling you that coverage is not available in your area.
Of course, a VPN alone isn’t enough to see the winning hoops and you’ll need to find a reliable internet connection and have a device with a suitable app installed. Once you’ve ticked those boxes, it’s time to have a look to see which VPN provider is going to give you the most seamless and enjoyable March Madness experience.
Top VPNs for Live Streaming March Madness Overseas
#1 ExpressVPN – The Best VPN Service for Live Streaming
A thorn in the sides of its rivals, ExpressVPN manages to top almost every list of best VPNs around. It’s not just a matter of fast speeds and global connectivity, ExpressVPN also has an impeccable track record when it comes to zero logging and client privacy.
A smooth installation process and accessible interface make ExpressVPN suitable for beginners, while its wide range of customizable features will keep more advanced users suitably satisfied. ExpressVPN is also compatible with a wide range of devices, including all types of smartphones and laptops, as well as consoles and smart TVs.
Whether you’ve been locked out because of regional restrictions or international geo-blocks, ExpressVPN is nimble enough to find a way around those barriers, even if you’re watching from China, where government censorship places huge restrictions on internet freedom.
Despite being the undisputed top of pops in VPN terms, ExpressVPN remains surprisingly affordable and backs up its technology with excellent customer support so, no matter what you need a VPN for, or where you’re attempting to connect from, ExpressVPN will help you find a way to fulfill your needs.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN here.
#2 Surfshark – The Best for Numerous Connections
Surfshark is a powerful new competitor in the world of cybersecurity and has chased a few rivals out of the top rankings with its impressive speeds and intuitive interface. Although Surfshark’s server network is considerably smaller than ExpressVPN, with just over 500 servers compared to ExpressVPN’s thousands, it still does a remarkably good job of providing high-speed connections from anywhere in the world.
With so many sub-standard VPN offerings out there, Surfshark has taken the world by surprise, smoothly swimming past its rivals in record speeds. With a watertight no-logging policy and unlimited simultaneous connections, Surfshark is a reliable service that can give protection to all your own and your family’s devices.
Surfshark is almost as versatile as ExpressVPN, being compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, Linus, and Fire TV. Its reasonable price belies the level of service you can expect, while its DNS protected servers and Multi-hop features keep you safe from prying eyes and cyber threats.
Read our full review of Surfshark VPN here.
#3 NordVPN – Top-class Security
NordVPN has been around the block a few times and the knowledge and experience it’s acquired in the process are obvious in both its level of encryption and additional security features. Based in Panama, NordVPN is renown for its no-logging policy and staunch approach to user privacy.
With over 5,000 servers dotted around the world, NordVPN is an excellent choice for those who do a lot of traveling and don’t want to miss out on live sports coverage or the latest popular TV series. NordVPN presents available connections in a graphic form so, all you have to do to connect to a US server and get access to March Madness coverage is click on the US pointer and NordVPN will automatically find the fastest US server available.
The only negative with NordVPN is that some of its servers struggle to produce the kind of speeds you need to enjoy a full game without any lagging or interruption. Additionally, China keeps trying to ban NordVPN so, if you’re headed that way, you might want to read up on how to enable the obfuscated servers so you can negotiate around the region’s restrictions.
NordVPN is a solid and reliable service but doesn’t quite hit the top spot due to its inconsistent server speeds.
Read our full review of NordVPN here.
#4 CyberGhost – Best for User Experience
If you’re fundamentally not into technology and hate downloading and operating new apps, then CyberGhost is definitely the right service to get you live streaming March Madness this year. With an intuitive interface and a friendly ghost on-hand to help you find the fastest servers, CyberGhost appeals to those less technologically inclined, while streaming-optimized servers make watching the latest basketball game live smooth and seamless.
Not only does CyberGhost have dedicated streaming servers, but it also gives details of each server’s special capabilities so you can choose the one that’s going to give you the best March Madness experience, i.e. one that’s optimized for ESPN. CyberGhost also has a handy feature that enables you to view each servers user load and speed before you connect, so you don’t have to waste time testing them.
Although CyberGhost is ideal for beginners and technophobes, it’s also a robust enough service to give advanced users the experience they want. For those hovering somewhere in between the technophobe and geek categories, CyberGhost provides a range of handy guides that give you step-by-step instructions on everything from installation and setup to changes protocols and activating additional features.
Affordable and reliable, CyberGhost is great for those just starting their live streaming adventure.
Read our full review of CyberGhost here.
You’d have to be a sandwich short of a picnic to miss any of the March Madness in this Year of the Comeback. Since the season began, there have been several games won by teams who lagging so far behind, their defeat seemed inevitable, so the championship looks set to be fraught with nail-biting action and last-minute hoops. Whether you’ll be watching the games from the comfort of your own home, or sneaking a peak in between your work schedule, you’ll have plenty of options for accessing live coverage.
To guarantee you have full access without being thwarted by geographical restrictions, we strongly recommend signing up for one of our top VPNs. Not only will this give you access to March Madness, but many other international sporting events besides.
Furthermore, a VPN will protect you against the rising risk of cybercrime and enable you to watch your favorite content from anywhere in the world.