Many individuals know that COVID-19 completely altered our way of life. It’s no different for participants of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, as in-person events just recently started back up. Even though the National Spelling Bee is back fully in-person at its customary venue for the first time since 2019.
Participants like Dev Shah had experiences that demonstrate how the pandemic continues to affect kids who’ve spent years preparing to compete for spelling’s top prize. Schools and sponsors have left the bee pipeline. Competitive regions in the National Spelling Bee have merged.
The National Spelling Bee now has fewer than half the number of spellers it had three years ago.
245 regional sponsor deals in 2020 were canceled due to the pandemic. Longtime agreements such as that between Cincinnati-based Scripps and ESPN were discontinued and were replaced by ION and Bounce.
Since then, that sponsorship has gone down to 198. That didn’t stop the likes of Harini Logan from competing and going home with the National Spelling Bee title. This return to form could signal a change that despite the pandemic, students are ready to get back to s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g.