Spelling Bee prize money breakdown: How much does the Scripps National winner make in 2023?

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Scripps National Spelling Bee
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"Can you use it in a sentence?"

"It is often said that money can't buy happiness, but those people never saw a teenager earn over five figures for being a good speller."

M-O-N-E-Y. Money.

Take it to the bank. It's the word that often doesn't need a sentence to convey meaning, but is instead universally understood — breaking language barriers in ways that are typically otherwise difficult without a translator. 

One of ABBA's biggest hits was a tribute to currency, "Money, Money, Money," much like the film, "Jerry Maguire," became synonymous with "Show me the money!"

MORE: Spelling Bee age eligiblity, explained: Minimum & maximum ages allowed, youngest winners & more to know

There are 231 contestants at the Scipps National Spelling Bee. Who will be shown the money and just how much is it? The Sporting News looks at the Scipps National Spelling Bee prize money for 2023.

How much prize money does the Spelling Bee champion win in 2023?

  • Prize money: $50,000 cash prize

This year's participants are between the ages of 9 and 14. The last remaining speller will take home $50,000 in cash, a medal and the Scripps Cup — the official trophy of the Spelling Bee. In the event of a tie, both spellers would win $50,000. But the gifts don't stop there.

Merriam-Webster will award the winner with a $2,500 cash prize and reference library. Encyclopædia Britannica has $400 of reference works, including a 1768 Encyclopædia Britannica Replica Set and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium while Scholastic will donate $2,000 to the school of the winner's choice. 

In total, that's $52,500 in cash prizes, or a lot of pretzels from Auntie Anne's at the local mall. For the responsible folks, it's a huge advantage in lessening the burden of college costs and a great opportunity to earn some "R-E-S-P-E-C-T," as Aretha Franklin would say.  

Spelling Bee prizes and payouts 2023

All hope is not lost if you aren't crowned the champion, however. Quarterfinalists receive a commemorative pin in addition to their prize, while anyone who made it to the semifinals receives a commemorative medal in addition to their prize.

Here are the other prizes for the other contestants:

Round/Place Prize
2nd $25,000
3rd $15,000
4th $10,000
5th $5,000
6th $2,500
Miss in the first Round of Finals through to 7th place $2,000
Semifinalists $500 gift card
Quarterfinalists $100 gift card

The Spelling Bee notes that rewards are not cumulative so, for example, a semifinalist wouldn't also receive a $100 gift card along with the $500 gift card they already won.

MORE: Spelling Bee rules, explained

What does every Spelling Bee contestant get?

Of course, all 231 spellers are not walking away with a large sum of cash, but that doesn't mean they leave empty-handed. 

Here is what every speller gets for participating:

  • From the Spelling Bee: prize package including Bee souvenirs and an official certificate of participation
  • From Merriam-Webster: one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online
  • From Jay Sugarman: 2023 United States Mint Proof Set
  • From Encyclopædia Britannica: one-year subscription to Britannica Online Premium
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Nick Brinkerhoff is an editorial intern at The Sporting News.