The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been a summer staple on ESPN channels since 1994. But starting in 2022, the Bee will be moving to a new TV home.
EW Scripps, the owner of the local TV station that administers the spelling contest (it’s run as a non-profit), will host the competition on two of its own platforms: ION and Bounce. The company says competition will be available on its stations over-the-air and through the pay-TV providers that broadcast the channels. It will also be broadcast online, with a full release schedule to be announced next year.
The company says that by making the competition available live, it will be accessible to more people, instead of being limited to pay-TV subscribers who have ESPN.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a beloved American treasure enjoyed by generations of participants and viewers every year. Now is the time to bring the iconic competition back to broadcast television, the media platform available free to almost anyone. American viewers across the country, “Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said in a statement.” As Bee’s viewership expands across diverse and rapidly growing audiences. ION and Bounce, it’s better positioned to connect with the next generation of spellings that follow. ”
The Scripps National Spelling Bee first took place in 1925 and began airing on ESPN in 1994. It did not take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first time it was canceled since WWII.
The spelling contest was always new to ESPN (much like the annual July 4 coverage by Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest channel) where the finals were frequently all the rage on social media.