How To Watch The 2023 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships

By Kyle Merber

March 8, 2023

That will be $10 – except for DII and DIII fans. Those division’s championships are still free on NCAA[dot]com.

Unfortunately, after many years of the NCAA Indoor Championships being aired on ESPN, the meet’s broadcast has been moved behind a paywall and will be streamed via ESPN+. As you can imagine, people are outraged. It is not so much that they don’t have this type of money, it’s more that to follow the sport it now costs $58/month across four platforms to do so. (Alternatively, watching the meet via the theater of the mind by reading this newsletter remains free.)

So what happened? The NCAA sold the broadcasting rights for 29 of its championships to ESPN for $34 million per year as part of a contract that goes through 2024. This is a particularly bad deal when you consider that women’s basketball alone is worth in the ballpark of $100 million.

It’s not a great trend to see meets that were previously included in your parents’ your TV package be put behind a gate. Especially as we have been working so hard on Twitter being vocal about our displeasure about these sorts of things! Though if Leicester City could go from relegation to English Premier League champions in two years, then maybe so can we?

This was ultimately a decision by ESPN, and therefore if we want to win back the slot, then maybe it is time we take a good hard look at the schedule. Unlike professional running, which at least occasionally considers that track and field is a spectator sport, the NCAA doesn’t prioritize the spectating public in its scheduling. Sure, I would probably already be planning on spending most of my Friday and Saturday watching track in some capacity online, but how many other would-be viewers are prepared to take such a plunge?

If there is enough fury at the hotel bar amongst coaches who are drinking their stress away in Albuquerque that they choose to do something actionable, then it starts with advocating for a TV-friendly event format in the future.

The Lap Count is a weekly newsletter delivered on Wednesday mornings that recap all the fun action from the world of track & field. It’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the sport. There is a lot happening and this newsletter is a great way to stay up to date with all the fun. Subscribe today.

Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.