basketball players
The sports network will be streaming  the 2012 NCAA conference tournaments on the social network. 

For college basketball fans, March Madness has come a bit early.

Starting today, ESPN will stream more than 225 men’s and women’s games on its Facebook page for 10 days. And we’re not talking about Division III duds either. The network will show games from various NCAA conference tournaments.

Only subscribers to ESPN3, the channel’s Web-based network, will be able to watch the games, but many Internet service providers have a deal with the Disney-owned channel to stream ESPN3 at no extra cost. Before streaming begins, Facebook and ESPN will identify if your ISP is on the list.

ESPN does not have the rights March Madness (those games are on CBS, truTV, TBS, and TNT), so enjoy this free taste. The NCAA will stream all of its March Madness games for $3.99 when the event kicks off in mid-March.  

Although it’s a first for ESPN, sports have been streaming on Facebook for some time. Major League Baseball previously streamed preseason games last April but quickly ended the service due to lack of interest.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship, however, has seen better luck of streaming its events on Facebook. The league offers a number of live events to be viewed on its page.

So, if you haven’t liked ESPN’s Facebook page, today is a good day to do that. We promise it’s not a trap to a Jeremy Lin or Tim Tebow shrine, but it does need more Michelle Beadle.

Photo by Kevin H.

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