Americans connect the annual Fourth of July holiday to many spectacular staples including fireworks, pool parties, bonfires, county fairs, and barbecues. No patriotic activity may be more zany than the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which has provided eye-catching entertainment to the masses for decades. Get prepared for this year's festivities with some fun facts.
When is the 2023 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest? How can I watch?
Multiple events will be held on July 4th. The women's competition will stream on the ESPN app at 10:45 a.m. ET. The men's competition will kick off at noon ET on ESPN2 and stream on the ESPN app.
Where is the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest held each year?
The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest typically takes place outside the original Nathan's location in Coney Island near Brooklyn, New York. In 2020, Nathan's had to split from tradition briefly and hold the contest in a private location with no fans, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
What year did the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest start?
Though there is an urban legend that the inaugural contest took place in 1916, the first official and recorded July 4th contest took place in 1972 at Coney Island.
What are the contest rules?
Major League Eating (MLE) has managed the event since 1997. Currently, entrants have to be under contract by MLE to participate. In addition to past champions and special MLE invitees, aspiring eaters can qualify for the event during other preliminary contests.
During the event, participants must eat as many Nathan's Famous hot dogs in buns as they can within a 10 minute period. Each contestant gets their own scorekeeper who notes the number of hot dogs eaten during the contest window.
A few other rules are taken into consideration:
Water and other beverages are permitted and help encourage the quick flow of activity.
Condiments are allowed, but contestants usually pass on them.
Partially eaten hot dogs count and hot dogs still being chewed at the end of regulation can qualify (as long as they're successfully swallowed).
Penalty cards can be issued for messy eating and regurgitation.
Sudden death eat-offs will be put into play if there is a tie at the end of regulation.
What prizes do the winners get?
First place gets $10,000, second place gets $5,000, third place gets $2,500, fourth place gets $1,500, and fifth place gets $1,000. Additionally, the top male competitor gets a mustard yellow bedazzled belt and the top female competitor gets a pink mustard bedazzled belt.
Who are notable contest competitors to keep an eye on?
Joey Chestnut is the top male champion of all time, with 15 Nathan's titles to his name. Chestnut holds a world record for eating 73 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Chestnut will have a dedicated camera feed on July 4th at 12:35 p.m. ET. Miki Sudo is the top female champion of all time, with 8 Nathan's titles to her name. Sudo holds a world record for eating 6 hot dogs in one minute. There will be a dedicated Sudo camera feed on July 4th starting at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN3.
How can you further visualize the appetites of these winners?
Per Nathan's website, "If you laid out all of the hot dogs that past champs (since 1972) have eaten end to end, they would stretch around a baseball diamond 2.175 times!"
How long has ESPN been affiliated with the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest?
ESPN platforms have aired the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest since 2004. In 2022, ESPN signed a new deal with the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) to continue the broadcast partnership through 2029.