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‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Lash Out After Contestant Reveals Game Show’s Travel Policy



Knowledge Nuggets:

  • Recent ‘Jeopardy!’ champion Ben Goldstein brought to light the long-standing but little-known practice of the game show where contestants have to pay their own airfare and accommodations.
  • Many fans, upon learning about this, expressed their dissatisfaction, arguing that the show, which reportedly makes a hefty profit, should afford to cover travel expenses for its contestants.
  • Although non-winning contestants do receive consolation prizes, they often don’t cover all the expenses, as per Goldstein who stated that most of his initial travel costs were out of his pocket.

In an unexpected revelation that has stirred up the ‘Jeopardy!’ fan community, it’s been uncovered that contestants on the iconic game show have to pay for their own travel and accommodation expenses.

The practice, longstanding yet largely unknown, came to light when recent champion Ben Goldstein commented on it.

In his remarks on Twitter, Goldstein said, “Interesting discussion of the ‘Why doesn’t #Jeopardy pay airfare and accommodations’ question here.”

“Personally, I think covering travel/lodging would make the show more accessible to a wider range of contestants,” he added.

“Not everyone can afford a trip to LA with no guarantee of payback.”

The referenced fan site recalled a 1994 article featuring Kelly Carpenter, then ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant coordinator, defending the policy.

Carpenter reasoned that covering costs for out-of-towners would be unfair to locals, adding that travel expenses are only covered during ‘Jeopardy!’ tournaments.

This disclosure stirred up considerable reactions among the show’s fans, many of whom were unaware of the practice until Goldstein’s revelations.


Fans expressed their displeasure, pointing out that the highly profitable show should be able to afford travel expenses for its contestants.

One Twitter user calculated, “Of the $125m in profit per year that show makes you’d think they could carve out $1.725m for travel for 230 shows x 3 contestants x $2500 per trip.”

Non-winning contestants do receive consolation prizes, but as Goldstein himself pointed out, the initial travel expenses were largely on him.

He added, “Without seeing Jeopardy’s P&L sheet, I can’t really speak to the ‘constraints.’ But we’re talking about an additional ~$2,500 per episode to pay for a flight and two nights in a local hotel for the two new challengers. That really doesn’t strike me as that much.”

The debate on the fairness of this practice is now simmering among ‘Jeopardy!’ enthusiasts, adding another layer to the discussions around one of television’s most enduring game shows.

Clear Thoughts

The recent revelation about ‘Jeopardy!’ contestants paying their own travel and accommodation costs is a stark reminder of the often overlooked financial burdens associated with achieving dreams.

While the show’s policy may not be illegal, the underlying principle of fairness is at stake here.


Just as in life, the show should level the playing field, ensuring equal opportunity to contestants regardless of their financial status.

If ‘Jeopardy!’ as a profitable institution is unwilling to shoulder these costs, it raises questions about who gets to play the game – is it purely a matter of intellect or does financial capability also play a part?

This isn’t just about a game show policy; it’s about fair access and equal opportunities.

We value these principles and hope for a reassessment of this practice.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dick Banks

    July 3, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    I never thought there was any question of the cost of contestants. I will no longer watch Jeopardy!

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