Live Stream March Madness 2021 without Cable on Apple Devices

Want to watch the NCAA basketball tournament on your Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad? Here's how to stream all the college basketball games without cable.

The 2021 NCAA Tournament is upon us, so let's learn how to livestream the games! Want to cut the cable cord this year and livestream March Madness 2021 cheaply or for free? Here's how to watch national championship basketball online or on your Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad.

Related: Apple TV: Your Complete Guide to Setting Up & Streaming On-Demand Content

We've already gone over how to make a March Madness bracket or buy NCAA Tournament tickets, how to livestream the Super Bowl without cable, and how to watch MLB and the World Series without cable. For more great tutorials on how to livestream movies and TV show on your Apple devices, check out our free Tip of the Day

Live Streaming Schedule: NCAA Bracket 2021

We'll find out which teams have made the cut for this year's championships on Selection Sunday, March 14, followed by the First Four on March 18. Here's the complete 2021 March Madness schedule. Once you know which days to anticipate live streaming, you can decide which games you'd like to catch as soon as Selection Sunday announcements happen. Here's a printable official bracket for 2021 so you can fill it in as the games are announced. If you can't catch all the tournament games you want live, many of the streaming services below can archive games to watch another time. 

There are lots of options you can use to stream the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament games. Let's get started learning how to livestream the whole tournament, especially the Final Four games.

How to Watch March Madness: NCAA Tournament TV Schedule

The key to discovering whether or not you'll be able to watch the NCAA Tournament is to know which games will be on which channels. This year the games will be split between TBS, CBS, TNT, and TruTV. Now that you know where to catch the games, check with each cable alternative to see if the channels you need are offered in your area. If you're unfamiliar with TruTV, it's a live-streaming website that is free, but only as long as you're subscribed to cable through one of their affiliates. Another way to access TruTV is to subscribe to a streaming service that includes it in its offerings.

Use a Digital TV Antenna

Compatibility: Varies between manufacturers 

Cost: Prices vary from company to company; I've seen anywhere from $17.99–$149.99 

Pros: Free content from local broadcasters

Cons: Some companies charge a monthly fee to use the app associated with their antenna

digital tv antenna

Yes, it's true; you can legally pick up locally broadcasted channels and stream them to your Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad with a digital TV antenna. While you might be envisioning the old-fashioned version that looks like a laundry rack attached to your roof, there are now lots of over-the-air options that stay inside your house. Some can boost signals, as well, which is really helpful if you live in a rural area. Just remember you won't be able to catch any games that are streaming on TruTV. If it's really important for you to catch all of the March Madness games, OTA isn't your best choice. If you don't mind missing some of the games, options include AirTV, SiliconDust, and Mohu, but there are lots more out there!

NCAA March Madness App

Compatibility: Mac with M1 chip running macOS 11 or later, Apple TV running tvOS 13 and later, iPhone, and iPod Touch running iOS 13 or later, iPad running iPadOS 13 or later

Cost: Free 

Pros: Play the March Madness Bracket Challenge while watching games

Cons: After the three-hour free trial, you'll only see live content from CBS unless you have a cable subscription 

ncaa madness

This free app includes three free hours of live streaming on whichever network you'd like, but when your free trial is over, you'll only be able to catch games broadcast by CBS. Although limited, this is a free, fun way to catch at least some of the March Madness games.


Compatibility: Mac with M1 chip running macOS 11 or later, Apple TV running tvOS 13.0 and later, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch running iOS 10 and later

Cost: Seven-day free trial period, then $64.99/month

Pros: 30 hours of free DVR Cloud storage

Con: Channel availability varies by region

fubo app
FuboTV is a TV streaming service with a heavy focus on live sports. The basic package, fubo Premier, offers more than 100 channels. If you live in the right area, fuboTV includes Tru TV, but TBS and TNT have been cut, making this a less comprehensive NCAA Tournament option. It also doesn't include CBS games, which you'll have to catch on the NCAA March Madness app.

For directions on using fubo with your Apple TV, click here.


Compatibility: Fourth-generation Apple TV and later

Cost: $69.99/month for the Choice package

Pros: Seven-day free trial period
Cons: Coverage varies by region
at&t watch tv
AT&T TV Now, formerly DirecTV, includes TBS, TNT, CBS, and truTV in many areas if you purchase the Choice package. Check with AT&T TV Now to see which channels are streaming in your area.

Sling TV 

Compatibility: Fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV, iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch with iOS 11 or later 

Cost: $35 a month for Sling Orange, $40 a month for Sling Blue plus Comedy Extra.

Pros: 50 hours free Cloud DVR storage

Cons: Does not include CBS

Sling TV
Sling TV is a streaming service that allows viewers to pay far less than a cable subscription would cost. Customers can choose Sling Orange or Sling Blue. As an added bonus, Sling offers fifty hours of free Cloud DVR. This way, you can record the NCAA championship games and watch them later. Sling Blue includes TBS, TNT, and TruTV, as well as FS1 and FOX for conference tournaments like Big East. Sling Orange offers TBS, TNT, and ESPN, ESPN 2. Add Comedy Extra for an additional $5 a month, and you'll also get TruTV.
Once again, offerings vary from region to region; make sure the  NCAA broadcasts are available in your area.

Hulu Plus Live TV

Compatibility: Fourth-generation Apple TV running tvOS 13 and later, iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 12 and later, iPad running iOS 12 or later

Cost: Hulu + Live TV is $64.99

Pros: Personalized profiles for each family member, record and save up to 50 hours of content with Cloud DVR

Cons: Not broadcast in all areas

ncaa live
If you live in the right area, $64.99 a month will get you NBC, TBS, TNT, and even truTV! Hulu cautions that you need to have a local CBS affiliate to catch games broadcast by CBS, but even if you don't, you can use the NCAA March Madness app to fill that gap. Learn how to set it up on your Apple TV here

Paramount + (Formerly CBS All Access)

Compatibility: Fourth-Generation Apple TV and later, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch running iOS 11 and later

Cost: One-month free trial, $7.99/month thereafter 

Pros: 25 percent Student Discount

Cons: Live TV Available in limited markets

paramount plus app

Some of the NCAA Championship games run only on CBS, which means that if you don't have cable, you need to either have a method to stream CBS or get CBS over the air with an OTA antenna as described at the beginning of the article. If you need to subscribe to Paramount+ to watch some of the games, here's a link explaining how to get the app for your Apple TV.

YouTube TV

Compatibility: Fourth-generation and later Apple TV, iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch with iOS 12 or later, stream to your TV using AirPlay

Cost: Five-day free trial, then $64.99/month

Pros: Free recording with unlimited storage, six accounts per household

youtube tv

CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV are all offered if you live in the right market, so you'll be able to catch all the tournament games. Cloud DVR with unlimited storage means you'll be able to record games you can't watch live!

I hope that one of these options will help you live stream all the 20201 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship games you'd like to see on your Apple devices!

Top image credit: Aspen Photo /

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.