Today is the first day of play-in games for March Madness, and if you aren’t in front of your TV then you might miss some of the action.

You can watch all the games online or on a smartphone or tablet, but the NCAA is charging $3.99 for that service this year (which has been free in years past). If only your favorite personal finance blogger knew of a way to get the streaming service without paying the 4 bucks…

Free March Madness Online and Smartphone Streaming

If you’re cheap like me (which I assume you are), you probably don’t want to pay $4 to watch the games. Here’s how to avoid the fee.

kim englishGet out your cell phone and start composing a text to 2653. The text should read “0MISSOURI” without the quotes. You can pick a different school if you want (just make sure to put the zero in front of it), but I don’t think the school matters and I can confirm that using MISSOURI works.

You will get a text back that gives you a code. All you have to do is go to NCAA.com/cokezero and input your code, and you’re in for the whole tournament.

There are 67 March Madness games, and you can get every single one of them on the internet and/or on your smartphone/tablet with this service. One code gets you access for all supported devices.

Not All Smartphones/Tablets are Compatible

If you use Apple products then you’re all set. If you use Android products, you might be alright. If you use any other smartphone or tablet, you’re out of luck.

I have a T-Mobile G2 smartphone, and the app works great on that. I also have an ASUS Transformer Prime tablet, and the app is not supported on this platform. If you follow this link and login to your Google account, you should get able to see if your device is compatible with the app.

It Only Works For Mizzou Fans

If you don’t cheer for the Missouri Tigers, this service might not work. If you cheer against the Missouri Tigers, this service definitely won’t work. If you cheer for the Kansas Jayhawks, this app costs $3,900. None of this is true, but I wish it was.

Readers: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA tournament this year?

photo credit: RealClearSports