For already the fifth time this college basketball season, there is a new number one team in the country. All these upsets and fresh new contenders might have you wondering how to watch college basketball live on the Internet. While there is no one website or app live streaming college basketball for every single game, a couple of different sites and apps have a very large number of the top games available. Let’s take a look at the apps and websites that let you watch live college basketball – in some cases, absolutely free.
WATCH LIVE COLLEGE BASKETBALL ONLINE ON ESPN
Download RealPlayer and check out the web videos feature to see video from the latest basketball games delivered right to your computer.
Cable television subscribers get access to live webcasts of a whole bunch of top-notch live college basketball games on WatchESPN, the online sports channel that lets you watch ESPN online. The service is only available to those with an active cable TV subscription. Since WatchESPN aggregates all the games broadcasted on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU, you’ll get a quite a few good options – with the ranked, Top 25 teams playing nearly every single night through the Conference Tournaments in March. Not only that, but games are also available on demand for one week after they’ve been played – so if you missed another number one team getting knocked off or a buzzer-beater game, you can watch that game from the beginning.
The live broadcasts of a few ESPN college games are blacked out in certain regions due to broadcast restrictions, but these games are available to local viewers online after the game has been completed. ESPN is pretty straightforward when it comes to informing you which games are blacked out locally. Just look at the upcoming live college basketball games on WatchESPN, and click on the words “Blacked Out” or “Subject To Blackout” to see an online map detailing which areas of the country do not get the game live online, and the blackout areas are generally limited.
LISTEN TO LIVE COLLEGE BASKETBALL ON CBS ULIVE
If you’re wondering how to watch college basketball online and you don’t have a cable subscription, CBS Sports ULive is the stand-alone paid service for watching NCAA athletics online. ULive carries online streams of college basketball, plus live college football and baseball, and a number of niche college sports like lacrosse and rowing. The service is not free – a one-month, all-access subscription to ULive costs $14.95, while a one-year subscription covering the entire annual NCAA calendar costs $119.95. That ULive subscription delivers more than just live streaming college sports games – you also get access to press conferences, scores and highlights packages, and the coaches’ shows that broadcast on several college teams’ local radio affiliates.
NCAA Basketball fans should be aware, though, that the vast majority of ULive’s college basketball games are available as audio only, not video. ULive essentially aggregates coverage from regional networks, plus all the games from conference channels like the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network. Those networks tend to own the video rights to these games, and only allow game audio to be broadcast on ULive. You’ll only get live video for college basketball games of smaller and mid-major conferences, like the Atlantic Ten and the Patriot League.
In fact, ULive does not even carry the college basketball games that are broadcast on the CBS Network, even though CBS owns ULive. Wouldn’t it make sense if CBS just streamed all the college basketball games they carry on their network, preferably free of charge? Actually, they do – but the streams are only available to iPhone and iPad users.
WATCH LIVE STREAMING COLLEGE BASKETBALL ON IPAD OR IPHONE
The CBS Sports app for iOS carries, among other features, live streaming video of any regular season college basketball game being broadcast on the CBS Network. That’s not a ton of games – it’s generally just one or two games a week. These are marquee games, though, and nearly all of them involve Top 25 teams. The CBS Sports app will also broadcast the “Selection Sunday” show on March 17 at 6 p.m. EST, so you can be among the first to know which teams scored Big Dance invites to March Madness 2013. No invites for Android users, though, as the CBS Sports for Android app does not carry any live streaming college basketball games, just highlight videos available on demand.
Don’t worry that all these device restrictions and broadcast regulations are going to ruin the ability to watch March Madness online – they probably won’t. While there have been no announcements yet regarding online access to this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, CBS has broadcast all of their March Madness games online for free since 2006, and last year you could buy access to the full slate of all the networks’ tournament games for $3.99. Considering the popularity of watching daytime tournament games at work, it’s a solid bet that a very affordable online package will be offered again.
Would you pay $3.99 for all of the March Madness games? Who are your picks to make the tournament? Who deserves to be number one in this topsy-turvy college basketball season? Assign your own rankings in the comments section below.