By Mike Murphy
No, you can't stream all the games for free anywhere
There are plenty of ways to stream March Madness, but for hardcore cord-cutters, the options are severely limited.
The 2021 Men's NCAA Tournament tips off Thursday, March 18, and the 67 scheduled games will culminate with the national championship Monday, April 4. It's the first tournament in two years, after it was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
Read more: March Madness is back -- as long as COVID-19 doesn't interrupt it ()
ViacomCBS Inc.'s (VIAC) CBS, along with AT&T's (T) WarnerMedia channels TBS, TNT and TruTV, will broadcast all the action, and here's where it gets complicated.
If you want to watch every game, you need cable or a live-TV streaming service, such as YouTube TV, Hulu Live or AT&T TV that carries all four channels. (Sling TV subscribers get the Warner channels, but not all packages include CBS.)
You can also get all 24 games that CBS will broadcast for free, if your TV has an antenna.
All tournament games will also livestream at the NCAA's "March Madness Live" () site. However, users must select their TV providers to log in. Eligible providers include AT&T, Cox, DirecTV, Dish (DISH), Charter Spectrum (CHTR), Verizon (VZ) and Comcast's (CMCSA) Xfinity.
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You can also stream games from that site with Roku (ROKU), Google (GOOGL)(GOOGL) Chromecast and Amazon (AMZN) Fire TV devices -- if you have a live-TV provider.
For hardcore cord-cutters with no cable and no live-TV service, the best -- and really, only -- bet is Paramount+, which will air all 24 games that CBS broadcasts, including the Final Four and championship game. Games will not air on Warner's HBO Max. Paramount+ costs $5.99 a month with ads, and $9.99 a month for no ads, but you can sign up for a free month's trial through March 31.
So, why can't you stream all the games for free? Blame capitalism. March Madness is a huge money-maker for the networks. In 2016, CBS and Warner's Turner Sports extended their broadcast rights through 2032, priced at roughly $1 billion a year (). And as long as millions of people are paying to watch the games, don't expect them to stream free anywhere.
Here's the complete tournament schedule:
-Mike Murphy; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 14, 2021 20:43 ET (00:43 GMT)
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