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U.S. employers are facing billions of dollars in lost wages this March Madness due to distracted employees. And if you’re reading this, I can only assume your goal is to join the ranks of the on-duty streamers.
Thankfully, the NCAA and networks that air the games don’t care about your employer, and only want as many eyeballs on the games as possible. They’ve provided us all with ample ways to watch as much sweet, sweet college basketball as our bodies can handle.
Here’s how to spend the rest of March watching your bracket slowly fall to pieces, without needing to pay a cent:
First, understand the breakdown of games
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This year, CBS and Turner (which owns TBS, TNT, and truTV) share the rights to broadcast the tournament.
Of the 67 games that make up March Madness, 43 go to Turner, while the remaining 24 go to CBS.
CBS will be home to the Final Four on April 1, as well as the National Championship Game on April 3 at 9 p.m.
For a full schedule of games, as well as the corresponding networks they will be on, click here.
Watch the CBS free on the NCAA March Madness website
This is the easiest way to catch a large portion of games in the tournament, as the NCAA has a deal with CBS to stream all of its games.
The good folks over at the March Madness website have even brought back the “Boss Button,” which takes you to an official-looking slide-show complete with pie charts and stock photos extolling the virtues of PlayStation Vue, should your boss ever happen to walk by.
For games on TBS, TNT, and truTV, you’ll need to get creative
- Jae C. Hong/AP
If you pay for a cable subscription, you’re in luck. Simply entering your credentials on the March Madness website will give you access to all of Turner’s games.
But if you don’t pay for a cable subscription, don’t worry – there are still plenty of ways to get your basketball fix.
Take advantage of free trials from streaming TV providers
Both services offer week-long free trials that give you access to Turner’s channels. Back-to-back Sling and PlayStation Vue free trials will bring you all the way through the tournament without spending a dime.
You will have to put down your credit card information to start the free trial, but as long as you cancel before the first month kicks in, you’ll be in the clear.
What if you’re back home and want to watch on the big screen?
Eventually, you’re going to have to power-down your work computer and rush home to keep watching the games. Watching on your iPad while your big HDTV sits idle in front of you isn’t going to cut it, though.
The same tricks that work on your computer and iPad won’t work for your Roku and Apple TV, however – as the March Madness app isn’t free for TV, and Turner will still ask for a cable login.
You can still get around this, but you’re going to need a Chromecast – it costs just $35. Simply find the game you want to watch on your Chrome browser – whether on Sling or PS Vue for TBS or the NCAA website for CBS – and you can then throw it up on your TV via Chromecast for optimal viewing pleasure.
Likewise, if you have an Amazon Fire Stick, simply download the Plex app and that will allow you to mirror your computer’s content onto your TV. And if you don’t have any of those, a simple HDMI cable should do the trick.
Good luck with your bracket, and enjoy the tournament!
- David J. Phillip/AP