Don’t wait for March Madness.
Don’t wait for March Madness to start streaming college basketball. There are dozens of marquee games on almost every night across a handful of channels, and with the right live TV streaming package, you can not only catch the college basketball live stream for your favorite team on any given night, but you’ll also get almost every channel that will be showing games throughout the 2018-19 season, no satellites or long-term contracts required. Here’s everything you need to know to live stream college basketball.
College basketball live stream: How to watch NCAA games for free
College basketball games will be broadcast on CBS, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Pac-12 Network, SEC Network, FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network—not to mention ESPN+ (we’ll cover that separately below). As such, there’s not a perfect solution for college basketball among the six major live TV streaming services. There’s bound to be a channel or three that one doesn’t carry, or you’ll need an upgrade or add-on package to check all the boxes for college basketball. But we’ve done our best to break down all of the essential info for you. And the best part? All of these services offer free 7-day trials.
1) Sling TV
- Cost: $25-$40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, and iOS and Android devices
- College basketball channels: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ACC Network Extra (Sling Orange, Sling Orange + Blue), FS1, FS2 (Sling Blue, Sling Orange + Blue)
Sling TV offers one of the most comprehensive packages for watching college basketball. With the Sling Orange + Blue package, you’ll get three core ESPN channels, FS1 and FS2, and plenty more. For $5 per month, you can also add two SEC Network channels, ESPNU, and Pac-12 Network with the Sports Extra: Sling Orange pack. Likewise, for $10 per month, you’ll get Pac-12 Network with the Sling Blue version of Sports Extra, along with NHL Network, NFL RedZone, and more. But, when it comes to Sling TV local channels, CBS is sadly missing. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels.)
Game-changing feature: Price. Sling TV offers one of the cheapest ways to watch live TV online.
- Cost: $39.99 for your first month and $44.99 per month thereafter (after a 7-day free trial)
- Sling TV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- College basketball channels: CBS, CBS Sports Network, Pac-12 Network, Fox Sports, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network (4 channels)
It’s hard to recommend FuboTV for streaming college basketball simply because there are so many games broadcast on ESPN channels, which are sadly missing from FuboTV’s lineup. But you’ll get everything else you need (FS1, FS2, CBS, CBS Sports Network), including no less than four Big Ten Network channels and the Pac-12 Network. If you coupled this with ESPN+, you’d be in good shape. (Here’s the complete FuboTV channels list.)
Game-changing feature: Three-day replay for games and 30 hours of cloud DVR.
- Cost: $40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- College basketball channels: CBS, CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, and SEC Network
Like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV offers just one basic collection of channels, and it offers arguably the best total package for college basketball live streams. It gets all of the essentials from ESPN and CBS, plus a couple of college sports networks, and dozens of other great channels—and that’s not even counting the free Hulu subscription that comes with every account. (Here’s the complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
Game-changing feature: Every subscription comes with free access to Hulu’s on-demand library, meaning you can catch up on all of your favorite shows. (Here are our picks for the best movies on Hulu, Hulu documentaries, anime, and the must-see Hulu originals.)
4) YouTube TV
- Cost: $40 per month
- Devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- College basketball channels: CBS, CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, Fox Sports, FS1, and FS2
When it comes to streaming college basketball, YouTube TV’s channel package overlaps a lot with Hulu with Live TV. You really can’t go wrong with either one, but you’ll want to take a closer look at the other channels included and their unique features to see which one is a better option for you. (You can find the full list of YouTube TV channels here.)
Game-changing feature: You can add up to six accounts per household, and each one of those accounts gets unlimited cloud DVR. Even better: You can fast-forward through ads in recorded programs.
5) DirecTV Now
Cost: $40-$75 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
College basketball channels: CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1 (Live a Little); Big Ten Network, SEC Network, and ESPNU (Just Right); CBS Sports Network and FS2 (Gotta Have It)
There’s a lot to love about DirecTV Now, the streaming alternative to DirecTV, but when it comes to college basketball, you have to spend more to match what’s available in other services. For example, you have to have DirecTV Now’s biggest package, the $75-per-month Gotta Have It, just to get CBS Sports Network and FS2. (You can view the full DirecTV Now channels list here.)
Game-changing feature: AT&T Unlimited customers can save $25 a month off every DirecTV Now package.
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- College basketball channels: CBS, FS1, and FS2 (Access); CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and SEC Network (Elite)
For college basketball live streams, you’re going to want to get PlayStation Vue’s Core package, which costs $49.99 per month. That package unlocks three ESPN channels, two conference networks, and CBS Sports Network. It’s a little pricier than the competition, but with more than 60 channels, there’s something for everyone. (Here are all of PlayStation Vue channels.)
Game-changing feature: You can stream on up to five devices at once, and there’s unlimited cloud DVR.
- How to stream Pac-12 Network online
- How to stream ACC Network Extra
- How to watch Mountain West Network online
- How to watch Big Ten Network online
- How to watch SEC Network online
Other ways to watch college basketball online
Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 annually
ESPN+ is not a standalone service—it’s an extension of ESPN’s live coverage (identified in the WatchESPN app and ESPN’s site with the “E+” logo). And at just $4.99 per month, it’s the best upgrade in all of streaming entertainment. ESPN+ will be streaming hundreds upon hundreds of college basketball games, both men’s and women’s, in addition to a ton of NHL games and other live sports programming. You’ll also get access to ESPN’s 30 for 30 library and the new Earn Everything, an eight-part documentary series that goes behind-the-scenes and into the locker room for Duke’s preseason.
Cost: Free to download, subscription required for live programming
Once you’ve selected a live streaming service, download the Fox Sports Go app. It’ll let you watch FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, and any other Fox Sports channel that’s included in your package. It’s a great backup for college basketball live streams.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, AMC, FX, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Golf Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, the Weather Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
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