After 27 Years at ESPN, Scripps National Spelling Bee Is Leaving ESPN After a 27-year career
The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been a summer staple on ESPNs channels since 1994. But from 2022 onwards, the Bee will move to a new TV home.
The spelling bee, which is run as a non-profit, will be broadcast on two of its own platforms: ION and Bounce. The firm claims that the competition will be available on its over-the-air stations and pay-TV providers that provide the channels. It will also be available online, with a full broadcast schedule to be announced next year.
The firm claims that by making the competition available over-the-air, it will be accessible to more people, rather than being restricted to pay-TV subscribers who have ESPN.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a beloved American treasure that is enjoyed by generations of participants and viewers each year. The time is now to bring the iconic competition back to broadcast television, the media platform accessible for free to nearly every American viewer, Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson stated in a statement. As the Bees viewership expands through the diverse and fast-growing audiences of ION and Bounce, it is better positioned to connect with the next generation of spellers following along, adds Bodily.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee was first held in 1925 and began airing on ESPN in 1994. Because of the coronavirus epidemic, it didn't occur in 2020, the first time since World War II that it had been called off.
The spelling bee was always something of a novelty for ESPN (not unlike the channels annual July 4 coverage of the NathanS Hot Dog Eating Contest), where the finals would often be prominent on social media.