Watch ESPN’s 26th Scripps National Spelling Bee and See What the Buzz is about May 28-30


Watch ESPN’s 26th Scripps National Spelling Bee and See What the Buzz is about May 28-30

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and the ESPN App will combine to present more than 24 live hours of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee from National Harbor, Md., on May 28 through May 30.This is ESPN’s 26th straight year of televising the finals. ESPN’s Matt Barrie will host the 92nd Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee alongside 1990 finalist Paul Loeffler.

ESPN3 will exclusively carry preliminary rounds streaming live on the ESPN App on Tuesday, May 28, beginning at 9:45 a.m. ET and continue Wednesday, May 29 at 8 a.m. with a second stream carrying the Play Along version. Live coverage of the Finals will begin Thursday, May 30, at 10 a.m. on ESPN2 and conclude starting at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. The Play Along Version for both sessions will air on ESPNU and will be streaming live on the ESPN App.

The multiple choice Play Along channel returns for its sixth year, offering fans a one-in-four chance to pick the correct spelling of the given word, allowing fans to compete along with the spellers. The Play Along version also features informational boxes highlighting the word’s etymology, definition, clear pronunciation and part of speech, as well as live tweets, the speller’s bio and more. Back for a second year at is an online interactive Play Along, a fun way for viewers to test their spelling prowess on their computer, tablet or phone.

The 92nd Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee will feature spellers ranging in age from 7 to 15. The record 565 champion spellers who travel to the Washington, D.C. area represent all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe. In addition, there are participants from the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea

Date Time (ET) Round Network(s)
Tues, May 28 9:45 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Preliminary Rounds 2 &3 ESPN3, ESPN App
Wed, May 29 8 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Preliminary Round 3 continued ESPN3, ESPN App
  12:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Preliminary Round 3 continued ESPN3, ESPN App
  4:45 p.m. Announcement of Finalists ESPN3, ESPN App
Thurs, May 30 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.                                                   Finals, Opening Portion

Play Along Version



8:30 – 10:30 p.m.                                                   Finals, Closing Portion

Play Along Version



*All live streaming is available on the ESPN App

 Commentators: SportsCenter’s Matt Barrie and Word Analyst Paul Loeffler Return

  • Matt Barrie – An award-winning sports reporter and versatile sports news anchor, Barrie hosts his second Scripps National Spelling Bee. Barrie anchors the 7 a.m. SportsCenter and has hosted SportsCenter on the Road, College GameDay Radio and Highlight Express.
  • Paul Loeffler – A 1990 Spelling Bee finalist, he represented the Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star, finishing among the top 13 spellers. He makes his 14th straight appearance on ESPN as the expert word analyst. Loeffler is also the current voice of Fresno State athletics (football, basketball and baseball), and has called football and baseball for ESPN in the past.

The 2019 National Spelling Bee by the Numbers:
1 – speller in the first grade (217 are in eighth grade)
6 – years that have seen co-champions (1950, 1957, 1962, 2014, 2015 and 2016)
9 – sets of siblings competing together and 2 of those pairs are twins, 1 is identical and 1 is fraternal
– percent of spellers are girls, 52 percent are boys
65 – percent of spellers attend public school
163 – spellers are “spell-peaters” who have participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee before
565 – record high participating in the 2019 National Spelling Bee
– dollar prize from Scripps for the Champion

Past Winning Words (8 of 10 come up as misspelled on Microsoft Word):
2018 – koinonia
2017 – marocain
2016 – Feldenkrais, gesellschaft
2015 – scherenschnitte, nunatak
2014 – feuilleton, stichomythia
2013 – knaidel
2012 – guetapens

Other Difficult Winning Words:
1962 – esquamulose
1981 – sarcophagus
1995 – xanthosis
2001 – succedaneum
2005 – appoggiatura

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Visit for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company. For more information and real-time results for all segments of competition are provided at the Bee’s official website.

Media Contacts:
ESPN – Belen Michelis [email protected]
Scripps National Spelling Bee – Valerie Miller [email protected]

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Belen Michelis

Belen Michelis is a senior publicist focusing on ESPN Corporate Citizenship, Spelling Bee, Invictus Games, Warrior Games, ESPN local radio (98.7FM NY, ESPNLA 710, ESPN Chicago 1000), Misc. Sports and the WNBA. Prior to joining the ESPN Communications team, Michelis worked in Ad Sales for ESPN Deportes and International from 2010-2014. Michelis graduated from Boston College in 2010.
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