Heart Monitor, Aerial Shots Add Flavor to ESPN Nathan’s Broadcast

Always looking for new ways to inject some spice into a broadcast, ESPN has added some interesting wrinkles into this year’s edition of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, which will air Monday at 12 ET.

Bringing viewers a unique look into the world of competitive eating, ESPN will place a heart monitor on eater Pat Bertoletti, which will be checked three to four times during the 10-minute contest.

The full one-hour broadcast will also feature aerial shots from the Hangar One Blimp and interactive viewer polling throughout the show. The production includes pre-producer content, such as a Sport Science piece on four-time reigning champion Joey Chestnut.

Paul Page will provide bite-by-bite commentary with Major League Eating’s Shea brothers (Rich and George) and reporter Renee Herlocker. The competition will also be available live via ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.

Over the last five years, ESPN’s coverage of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has averaged a 1.1 rating and nearly 1.5 million viewers. It is regularly the network’s highest-rated and most-viewed program of the day.

In addition to the men’s contest, the first-ever Women’s Championship will be held live at 11:30 a.m. exclusively on ESPN3.com. Highlights of the competition will be shown during ESPN’s one-hour telecast.

Banned Kobayashi Stages Protest

Famed competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi may be banned from taking part in Major League Eating’s marquee event on Monday, but that’s not stopping the former Nathan’s champ from proving his mettle.

While the main event is taking place on the boardwalk in Coney Island, Kobayashi will be set up in a midtown-Manhattan hotel where he will simultaneously scarf down as many hot dogs as he can. His numbers will not officially count but his performance will be broadcast via satellite TV.

Kobayshi — once the Babe Ruth of competitive eating – is competing in protest after being banned from the Nathan’s competition and outcast by the league in 2009.