ESPN Extends Agreement with Major League Eating to Televise Hot Dog Eating Contest
ESPN has reached an agreement with Major League Eating that provides the network exclusive rights to televise a live, one-hour show of the League’s Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest each year through 2024. The agreement is a ten-year extension of an existing contract between the entities.
This year’s event will be carried live on Friday, July 4, at 12 p.m. ET on ESPNews and WatchESPN. The show will include in-depth analysis of the eating competition by broadcaster Paul Page and Major League Eating’s Richard Shea, with reporting by Cari Champion, host of ESPN2’s First Take. The one-hour telecast marks the 11th consecutive year ESPN has televised the event and will also include coverage of the Women’s Championship. Last year’s telecast on ESPN attracted more than 1 million viewers for the eighth straight year.
In addition to the live coverage, the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest will also include live alternate camera angles exclusively on ESPN3 Surround, as well as an encore presentation at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Women’s Championship will be distributed live on ESPN3 at 11:15 am ET.
George Shea, MLE chairman, will host the stage show for the historic contest, which has been held in Coney Island, NY, for decades and attracts top eating talent from around the world. The current world hot dog eating record is held by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., who consumed 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes and who will seek his eighth straight title this year. The 100-pound eating phenom Sonya Thomas, who consumed 39 hot dogs and buns last year, will defend her title as female eating champion of the world.
“The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has become a holiday viewing tradition for millions of Americans,” said Jason Bernstein, Sr. Director, Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN. “We’re thrilled to have the annual contest as a part of ESPN’s championship summer season—along with FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon this year—and to continue working with Major League Eating in the future to satisfy our fans’ appetites.”
The 10-minute, all-you-can-eat contest will take place at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues near Coney Island’s historic boardwalk. More than 25 eating athletes from around the world will compete for the respective Men’s and Women’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating World Championship Belts.