Here's what you need to know about American Ninja Warrior's Baltimore takeover

The Inner Harbor plays host to a taping of NBC's obstacle course competition show this weekend.

NBC will light up the night sky around Rash Field in the Inner Harbor with full-throttle competition, high stakes and superhuman athletics when “American Ninja Warrior,” the obstacle course competition series, films between April 28 and 30. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a total novice, we have answers to some of your frequently asked questions about the taping:

What is “American Ninja Warrior”?

The series revolves around individual athletes who compete for a $1 million prize by trying to complete four rounds of challenging obstacle courses in the best time possible. It is based on “Sasuke,” a popular Japanese television show that has aired almost continuously since 1997.


The competition starts with qualifying rounds in several American cities. For this season, the show’s 11th, these will take place in Baltimore, Atlanta, Seattle/Tacoma, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Cincinnati with approximately 90 competitors in each city. Returning fans will recognize such infamous challenges as the shrinking steps and spider trap in Baltimore, according to an NBC spokesperson. 30 qualifiers will then go to the city finals rounds, which include four additional obstacles. About 15 winners in each city will then proceed to Las Vegas to compete on a four-stage course with as many as 23 obstacles.

Okay, but how do you win the money?

Inspired by the NBC television series “American Ninja Warrior,” where contestants tackle challenging obstacles, Howard County kids are climbing, jumping and swinging at NinjaBe in Columbia and the Endurance Factory in Savage.

Competitors win by going the fastest and furthest within each step of the game. Some challenges involve specific guidelines; for example, ninjas (as competitors are frequently called) who reach the final round in Las Vegas must complete the last obstacle — a 75-foot rope climb — in 30 seconds. Ninjas who complete all four finals stages earn the $1 million prize. Only Isaac Caldiero and Geoff Britten have successfully conquered all four stages of the last course. In addition, a rule instituted last year grants $10,000 to any competitor who scale the sloped Mega Warped Wall. If no ninja in the finals completes all four stages, the one who goes the quickest and longest, referenced as the “last ninja standing,” wins $100,000.


Wait, did I see something like this before in Baltimore?

Maybe. The city rounds take place in a rotating set of cities, and Baltimore hosted one for the show’s fifth season in 2013.

Who’s competing?

Kinetic Ninja Warrior opened in Bel Air last fall bring Harford County’s only “Ninja Warrior” obstacle course training gym to life.

Baltimore’s round includes several returning fan favorites, including Najee Richardson, Drew Drechsel, Jamie Rahn and Joe Moravsky. It also includes a number of locals, including Baltimore City firefighter and paramedic Nicholas Green.

Cool, I’m sold. How do I check out the action?

Qualifying round tapings take place at Rash Field, on the southern edge of the Inner Harbor, between Sunday and Monday, April 28 and 29. The brightly-lit show films at night, and free tickets cover two- or two-and-a-half-hour tapings that stretch from the evening to the early morning. Baltimore’s finals round then begins on Tuesday, April 30 at 2 a.m. Most of the sessions are currently waitlisted, but fans can still request priority tickets for both Monday at 2 a.m. and the finals via on-camera-audiences.com.

Well if I can’t get tickets, how can I check out the show?

You can catch the action when the Baltimore episode airs on June 24, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. In addition, the Baltimore finals episode will air on Aug. 5 in the same time frame. But if you can’t wait, several famous ninjas like Grant McCartney, will be on hand to sign autographs at the Ravens Draft Fest in the Inner Harbor on Saturday.

May 31, 2019: This article was updated to change the air date of the Baltimore episode.

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