Friday, May 30, 2008

The 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals Air Tonight On ABC

The Scripps National Spelling Bee logoI think the Scripps National Spelling Bee has officially passed the World Series of Poker as the biggest non-sport sporting event in the United States. It’s amazing how much press and television time The Bee gets. Obviously it’s not given as much screen time as the WSOP, but The Bee finals have graduated from ESPN to primetime on ABC.

The National Spelling Bee “is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company and 280 sponsors” around the globe. (link) To be honest, what reminded me to write about The Bee is a great article on ESPN.com by Elizabeth Merril about Samir Patel entitled “Spelling Bee Icon Samir Patel Moves On To Next Challenges.” It’s a really interesting article about Samir’s sudden rise to fame as a 9 year old child who placed third at the 2003 National Spelling Bee and his life now as a 14 year old, no longer able to compete after 5 appearances due to the end of his eligibility.

Samir Patel
Patel’s best finish in The Bee was in 2005, when at age 11 he finished second. And so, while the world’s best spellers of English spend a week in the nation’s capital, the most famous speller of them all sits at home with his family in their Texas home. It’s a really interesting article on a promising young man who seems to have not let the fact that he never won the National Spelling Bee bother him. It’s also a quick read, which you can find here.

The 81st Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee began on Thursday with 288 champion spellers competing in Washington, D.C. for the title of the nation’s top speller, a monetary prize of $35,000, a $2,500 savings bond and a set of reference works. (link)

Broadcast Times (link)

The Semifinals air live on ESPN from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm EDT tonight, Friday, May 30th.

The Championship Finals air live on ABC from 8:00 to 10:00 pm EDT tonight, Friday, May 30th.
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