After taking a year off due to COVID-19, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will return this year with the finals set to be aired in primetime on ESPN2.
The national spelling bee said 10 to 12 finalists will travel to the national finals which will be held in-person at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. Scripps said the finalists will have to make it through three rounds (preliminary, quarterfinal, and semifinal), in order to earn a trip to Orlando. All of the first three rounds will be held virtually, but will be broadcast on ESPN platforms with the semifinals set for June 27.
“Now, as the world continues to adapt to an ongoing pandemic, Scripps is committed to reimagining the beloved competition in a way that safely allows our exceptional spellers to continue this iconic tradition on the national stage,” said Adam Symson, president and chief executive officer of The E.W. Scripps Company.
Scripps said the in-person finals will follow all protocols based on guidance from health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decision to hold the finals in Orlando deviates from tradition as the finals had usually been held in Washington, DC in years past.
Last year's spelling bee cancelation was the first time the National Spelling Bee had been canceled since World War II.