How to Watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee


The Scripps National Spelling Bee, the annual competition that challenges erudite children and teenagers to spell some of the most obscure entries in the dictionary, will begin its final round on Thursday.

The contestants, who have not yet graduated the eighth grade or are under 16 years old, will travel to Maryland from across the United States and a handful of other countries.

The final event this year begins at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and runs until roughly 10 p.m.

It will be aired on Ion, a broadcast television network owned by Scripps Networks, which is available on many cable and satellite providers, and over some streaming platforms. The bee’s website has a list of streaming platforms that include the network, and a tool to locate your local channel after inputting your ZIP code.

The New York Times has been covering spelling bees for 150 years, and will continue that tradition with live coverage of Thursday’s final event at National Harbor, a resort and waterfront development in Maryland.

Last year, Dev Shah, an eighth grader from Florida, took home the grand prize of more than $50,000 and a commemorative medal. The young philologist correctly spelled “psammophile” in a spell-off to clinch the win. Dev, who is now in ninth grade, is ineligible to compete in this year’s contest.

The youngest participant this year is 8 years old and the oldest is 15. Spellers, with enough elucidation, will hope to move past orthography and multiple-choice vocabulary rounds to have the last word.

Definitions will come from the contest’s dictionary partner, Merriam-Webster. In addition to the cash prizes, the champion will receive multiple reference works (and bragging rights).

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