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March Madness Live Online Won’t Be Totally Free in 2012

For the past several years the NCAA has provided free access to every March Madness live online to fans. That will change in 2012. The online access will now be called “March Madness Live” and will provide access via computer, iPad, iPhone, and Android for a one-time fee of $3.99.

If you already pay for TNT, TBS, and Tru TV through your cable or satellite provider, however, you won’t have to pay extra for anything. Subscribers will merely be required to login and authenticate their status as a subscriber to get free streaming access. All CBS broadcast games will continue to be free for everyone.

I don’t have a problem with any of this. The $3.99 is a very reasonable price to pay to stream every NCAA Tournament game to your computer, phone or tablet. Plus, I know what a possible alternative could have been and I applaud the NCAA for not going down that road.

The great crime would be if fans were only allowed to access games online if they subscribed to the cable channels. This would lock out thousands of fans who either don’t get one or all of those channels or those that just flat out refuse to keep paying exorbitant prices for loads of channels that they never watch. For that I applaud the NCAA for at least giving fans a reasonably priced alternative.

March Madness Live will begin with the March Madness Selection Show on Sunday March 10th and run through the Championship game on April 2nd. You’ll be able to subscribe to March Madness Live using credit card, debit card, or Paypal. March Madness mobile apps are expected to be available beginning on March 7th.

Overview

CBS – All games streamed free for everyone

TNT/TBS/Tru – Free for subscribers. $3.99 for everyone else.

Note: According to awfulannouncing.com, It’s free to watch one game at a time when authenticating with TBS/TNT/Tru TV, but if you want to watch multiple games at one time, you’ll need to pay the $3.99 online subscriber fee.

For more information, or to sign up for notification when March Madness Live is available, go to NCAA.com.

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