May 29 marks the first day of the Scripps National Spelling Bee — a multi-day event that will culminate with a new National Spelling Bee champion. If you're interested in seeing kids from all over the country and world exhibit their spelling prowess, this guide on how to watch the 2018 National Spelling Bee will help make sure you don't miss a beat.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken place annually for over 90 years, save during part of World War II. According to the Bee's website, its purpose is to "help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives."
The National Spelling Bee will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. The televised coverage of the Bee begins at 9:15 a.m. EST on May 29. Television coverage commences with the second round of the event, which marks the first time spellers take the stage to compete (prior to the second round, spellers take a preliminary multiple choice test). The Bee's website indicates that initial coverage of the event will air on ESPN 3, so you will need cable if you wish to watch the spellers compete on television.
Spellers who make the cut will continue on to compete in Round 3, which will air from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 30. The Bee's finals will air in two parts, with Part 1 beginning at 10 a.m. EST on May 31 and airing on ESPN 2. The second part of the finals, which, as the Bee noted on its YouTube channel, will feature around twelve spellers, will air live during primetime on ESPN. This portion of the finals is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. EST on May 31.
In addition to watching the event on television, it looks as though you can also watch the National Spelling Bee online via ESPN Player. However, you will need to have a subscription service in order to use the network's online player. And of course, it's likely you'll be able to find video highlights from the event on Twitter.
519 spellers will compete in the annual spelling competition this year. The spellers competing at the National Bee have already been victorious in local competitions, winning these events to secure their spot at the Scripps Bee. Indeed, as the Bee described on its website, "over 11 million spellers started a journey more than eight months ago" to vie for a place at the National Bee — and these 519 represent some of the best spellers in the nation.
The National Bee's website revealed that spellers range in age from eight years old to 15 years old, with the majority of spellers falling in the 12-14- year-old range. 46.4 percent of this year's participants are female, while 53.6 percent are male. 113 of the 519 spellers have participated in a National Spelling Bee before.
The speller (or spellers) who ultimately proves victorious and becomes the 2018 National Spelling Bee champion will take the place of 2017 champion Ananya Vinay, who won the Bee at age 12. After 36 rounds of competition, Vinay secured her victory by spelling the word "marocain," which, according to Merriam Webster, is "a ribbed crepe fabric used in women's clothing."
The National Spelling Bee champion will win $40,000 from Scripps, along with a Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy. She or he will also take home a host of other prizes from Merriam-Webster and Encyclopedia Britannica.
Thus, the National Bee is certainly a high stakes event featuring students who have been preparing for this moment for months on end. If you wish to see them compete for the ultimate spelling championship, be sure to tune in to ESPN 3 starting on May 29.