The 89th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee is coming up and the contestants are getting ready for what is likely to be an exciting competition. With hundreds of students from public, private, and charter schools, among others, you'll want to tune into this year's spellers. So, if you wanted to keep up with this year's contests online, here's how to stream the National Spelling Bee.
The live TV screenings will start on Wednesday, with preliminary contests taking off at 8 a.m. ET. This year's contest will be held in the Maryland Ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. There will be three preliminary rounds on Wednesday, and the finalists will be announced at the end of the day on ESPN. They will move on to Thursday's finals starting at 10 a.m. ET.
You can easily keep up with this year's contests right from your computer. You can catch the Spelling Bee on ESPN's live streaming website WatchESPN, by first signing in with your TV provider information, and then choosing what network you want to tune into. You can stream all of Wednesday and Thursday's contests right there, straight to your computer or phone if you prefer to use the WatchESPN smartphone app. You can also keep up with results in real time on spellingbee.com.
Bustle has reached out to Scripps and ESPN for comment on whether there are alternative options to stream the event online that don't require a TV provider log-in.
This year, there are 285 spellers competing — 144 boys and 141 girls — the youngest of which is 6 years old, and the two oldest contestants are 15. The majority of this year's contestants are 13 years old, and the most popular grade is the eighth grade, but, according to Scripps, these statistics are reportedly typical of previous contests. Many of the spellers have competed in previous years, including one four-year repeater, eight three-year repeaters, and 61 two-year repeaters, so these participants must definitely love to spell. However, previous winners of the Spelling Bee cannot compete again, so we won't be seeing any recent winners fighting to reclaim their title.
Even so, many of the previous winners and spellers will be tuning into this year's Bee, including Anamika Veeramani who won the competition in 2010. Veeramani now studies pre-med at Yale University and will be joining Scripps as a member of this year's social media team. This will be her second year working on their social media presence. According to the Associated Press, Veeramani said, "Before I competed in the spelling bee, I was super shy, didn't really talk to anyone, spent a lot of time reading. After the spelling bee happened, it was like everything that I thought about myself had been changed by this external event."
This year's contestants are competing for a $40,000 cash prize and trophy from Scripps, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from Merriam-Webster, $400 of reference works from Encyclopædia Britannica, and a full-expense-paid trip to New York City to appear on LIVE with Kelly. There are other prizes for finalists, and all spellers as well.
Tune in to this year's Spelling Bee to keep up with the action.