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How to watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals online — time and channel

How to watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals online
(Image credit: Congressional Quarterly / Getty)
The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals start time, channel

The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals is about to begin, starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT / 1 a.m. BST today (July 8).
The event is broadcast on ESPN2, which you can get on is available on Sling TV, currently on sale down to $10 for the first month.

It's t-i-m-e to watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals, and we've got all the info you need to know how. The spellers have gathered and face a slightly different challenge at hand this year. But what is triumph without adjusting to a newfound adversity? 

The competition has two new twists to help us get a winner without time running over. A new "Spell-Off" round will give competitors — if there are too many at the end of the game — 90 seconds to spell as many words as possible. And whomever spells the most words right wins. Plus, there are vocabulary questions as well. This is not your average bee.

Interestingly enough, this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals borrow from the 2020 NBA season. Instead of taking place in Washington, D.C., the finals are taking place at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. And that's because, you guessed it, that venue proved perfect for social distancing during the NBA's pandemic season.

The spellers and officials have been following health and safety protocols, including physical distancing.

As for what they're all spelling for? The big rewards are a $50,000 cash prize, and a commemorative medal and the Scripps Cup championship trophy. Event partner Merriam-Webster is throwing in a $2,500 cash prize and reference library, and the winner will also get $400 worth of reference volumes. 

We've got a full list of the finalists below, which range in age from 10-year-old Vivinsha Veduru to a trio of 14-year-olds Sreethan Gajula, Ashrita Gandhari and Zaila Avant-garde. 

How to watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals from anywhere on Earth

If you've had to leave your own "bubble" and you've found yourself in a region that doesn't have ESPN2 or TSN2 -- and you can't watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals live streams on cable, you're not out of luck. With a virtual private network, or VPN, you can appear to be surfing the web from your home town (or somewhere that blackouts won't hit), and access the same streaming services you already paid for. 

Not sure which VPN is right for you? We've tested many different services and our pick for the best VPN overall is ExpressVPN. It offers superb speeds and excellent customer service. But you've got other VPN options as well. Here are our top picks.

We think speed, security and simplicity make ExpressVPN second to none. During our tests, we saw fast connection times, and we're impressed by the service's ability to access more than 3,000 services spread out across 160 locations in 94 countries. View Deal

How to watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in the US

The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in the US

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In the U.S., The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals airs at 8 p.m. ET today (Thursday, July 8).

If you've already cut the cord and don't have a cable package, you'll be able to watch the Spellers on YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and FuboTV

We recommend Sling TV and Fubo, two of our picks for the best streaming services. ESPN2 is included in the Sling Orange package, which costs $35 per month — but it's currently on sale for $10 for the first month. Fubo costs $65 per month, but packs many more channels.

Sling TV: You can get ESPN2 in the Sling Orange package. The 30-plus channels in the lineup include AMC, CNN, Food Network, AMC, Comedy Central, HGTV and many more.View Deal

Fubo.TV: ESPN2 is one of the many sports channels in Fubo.TV. It's got a 7-day free trial so you don't need to pay up front.View Deal

How to watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in the UK

The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in the UK

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You may not be able to watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in the UK. We're having trouble finding any U.K. network or service that will host the event, and we'll continue to keep our eyes out for it.

How to watch The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in Canada

The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals live streams in Canada

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Spelling fans better have TSN. TSN2 is hosting the The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in Canada.

2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finalists

  • Roy Seligman, 12, from Nassau, The Bahamas.
  • Bhavana Madini, 13, from New York.
  • Sreethan Gajula, 14, from Charlotte, North Carolina. 
  • Ashrita Gandhari, 14, from Leesburg, Virginia. 
  • Avani Joshi, 13, from Loves Park, Illinois. 
  • Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from New Orleans.
  • Vivinsha Veduru, 10, from Fort Worth, Texas. 
  • Dhroov Bharatia, 12, from Dallas.
  • Vihaan Sibal, 12, from Waco, Texas. 
  • Akshainie Kamma, 13, from Austin, Texas. 
  • Chaitra Thummala, 12, from San Francisco. 

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.