Microsoft Corp. and mobile app Words with Friends will sponsor the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals that air live May 28 on ESPN.
"Microsoft Corp., the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions, and Words With Friends, a mobile app and social game created by Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), are the official broadcast sponsors of this year’s competition," said Valerie Miller, corporate communications manager for The E.W. Scripps Company.
“We are fortunate to have two sponsors who share a similar mission with the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “We all are deeply committed to supporting educational programs.
"We welcome back Microsoft for its second sponsorship year. Microsoft has had a profound impact on millions of students around the world. Words with Friends engages millions of Wordies to test their vocabulary skills and to challenge other players in the social word game. Through this relationship, we hope to expose more audiences to the exploration of words, spelling and vocabulary," Kimble said.
According to Scripps, Microsoft has partnered with more than 12 million educators to impact more than 207 million students in 240 countries.
"Spelling and grammar are foundational skills that pave the way for effective communication in school and career," said Margo Day, vice president of U.S. Education, Microsoft. “Microsoft Surface is proud to once again sponsor the Scripps National Spelling Bee to inspire students around the nation to improve their spelling and build the communication skills they’ll need in order to succeed in the future.”
Launched in 2009, and named by Apple as the App Store's No. 1 free game of all time, Words With Friends continues to be the world's most popular mobile word game with an estimated 55 million matches being played around the world at any given moment. Words With Friends encourages vocabulary expansion and word discovery through challenging players to create the highest-scoring words while playing against friends, family or random opponents, Scripps officials said.
“We're proud to team up with The E.W. Scripps Company in recognizing the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants and joining in this global celebration of words," said Jonathan Knight, vice president of games at Zynga. “Since launching nearly six years ago, Words With Friends has connected millions of people around the world through competitive and fun social word-play, empowering them to increase their vocabulary and discover new words.
"Through our partnership with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, we are thrilled to support the next generation of passionate spellers and word enthusiasts. We wish them the best of L-U-C-K during the competition.”
As part of its sponsorship, Words With Friends will award the Champion of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee with a cash prize of $5,000.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee started in 1925 with nine contestants. It is currently estimated that more than 11 million students participate each year.
How to watch
What: The 88th annual National Spelling Bee
When: May 26-28; Championship Finals air at 8 a.m. EST on ESPN