TV Answer Man, I want to watch all the March Madness games but it seems like the cheapest streaming service, Sling TV, won’t have all the games. Is there a way to watch all the games and still not pay close to $100 a month for the darn privilege! — Deke, Pensacola, Florida.
Deke, March Madness tipped off last night with the opening ‘First Four’ doubleheader and it will continue until April 3 with the championship game from Houston.
The problem for cost-conscious consumers is that the games will be broadcast at different times on four different channels — CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. That means you will need a pay TV subscription that includes all four. However, the cheapest service that includes the four channels in its base plan is YouTube TV which starts at $64.99 a month. That’s not $100 but it’s still more than what some people might like to pay.
But there are two ways to reduce the cost of watching all the games, or at least almost all the games.
1. Free trials.
DIRECTV Stream now has a five-day free trial while YouTube TV is offering a 14-day free trial. If you were to enroll in one trial after another starting tomorrow, you would be able to see every game from round one (March 16) to the final on April 3.
Another way to use free trials to game the system? Enroll in the 14-day YouTube TV free trial starting today and then do a seven-day free trial with Paramount Plus when it ends on March 28. All games after March 28 (the semifinals on April 1 and the final on April 3) will be on CBS and Paramount Plus has the CBS games.
The free trials are only available to new customers so if you’re not a new customer, try this:
2. Sling TV with an antenna or Paramount Plus.
Sling TV’s Blue base plan, which costs $40 a month ($20 for the first month), has the three Turner networks: truTV, TBS and TNT. However, it doesn’t carry CBS. But if you get the Blue plan and subscribe to Paramount Plus’s $9.99 a month plan (it has live CBS programming; the cheaper plan doesn’t), you can watch all the games for $49.99 for the month. ($29.99 if you are a new Sling TV customer; you would get the $20 off the first month.) That’s $15 cheaper than YouTube TV.
If you have an antenna, and can receive the signal of your local CBS affiliate, you could save another $10 on the Paramount Plus sub.
Deke, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann