Start time, channel, records & past winners

It may not be the NFL, but after a year away from its iconic setting, the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest graces Coney Island and the nearly 30,000 fans whose cheers are only matched by the ravenous hunger of the 28 contestants. For those unable to attend one of the greatest spectacles of human gastrointestinal endurance, here is where you can watch the contest unfold and gain some insight on who would relish the opportunity to win The Mustard Belt.

Hot dog eating contest start time for 2021

The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest waits for no one. Blink, and you now have to ketchup on one of the greatest Fourth of July traditions America has to offer. 

For those relishing the opportunity to watch some of the greatest competitive eaters in all the land who are willing to test their salivary glands, the frankfurter festivities will begin on July 4 at 10:45 AM ET with the introduction of the female competitors. The women’s competition starts at 11:00 AM ET, while the men’s competition will start at 12:30 PM ET. It’s worth tuning in early just to listen to the wordsmith George Shea of Major League Eating (MLE) do the introductions.

Traditionally, nearly 30,000 fans make the pilgrimage to Surf and Stillwell Avenues to watch the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest just steps away from the flagship location.

This year, things will be different, as the 28 eaters (18 men and 10 women) will compete a few blocks over at Maimonides Park — the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Maimonides Park’s seating capacity is about 7,000. For fans looking to go to the event in person, the gates will open at 10:00 AM ET.

James Walker, senior vice president of restaurants for Nathan’s Famous, expressed optimism the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest hopes to return to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in 2022, where they have held this event for decade after decade.

What channel is the hot dog eating contest?

Those diehard fans who can not make the trip yet have a ravenous hunger to watch the competition will be able to watch the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest on ESPN for coverage of the men’s competition. Alternatively, the women’s side will be on ESPN3, ESPN’s cable-authentication-required streaming service.

This is a disappointing move, especially after they showed both the men’s and women’s competitions last year on the network. But it does fit the same distribution method the company used in 2019 when the men and women were split into separate divisions. 

For the first time since 2014, we will have a new women’s champion. Miki Sudo, arguably the greatest women’s competitive eater of all time, has won the last seven titles. Unfortunately, she is skipping this competition due to her pregnancy. 

Joey Chestnut is the prohibitive favorite to win his 14th Mustard Belt

Superlatives fail to do justice to the greatness that is Joey Chestnut. For he is a man whose will is as unshakeable as the freedom of the nation for which he represents on her day of independence. As Shea once said, “He is the citadel, and he shall endure forever because he is freedom. And he will fight until the dome of heaven collapses, and the black avalanche of space pours down around him.”

Chestnut’s resume speaks for itself and is pound-for-pound one of the most dominant athletes in the world. Now, sitting on his throne, Chestnut made his debut in 2005 in the middle of the reign of Takeru Kobayashi. Chestnut triumphed in just a few short years (2007) by eating 66 hot dogs and buns (HBDs) in 12 minutes, ending Kobayashi’s six-year undefeated streak. From that point on, one of the greatest rivalries was created along with the foundation for a champion, the likes of which never roamed the Earth before.

It was not until 2016 that Chestnut would be beaten. After eight straight Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest victories, Matt Stonie toppled Chestnut by ingesting 62 HBDs. From this defeat, Chestnut reached a new level of human evolution.

He has now won the last five straight contests, totaling 13 Mustard Belts. In 2020, Chestnut set a new world record with 75 HBDs. The event being held inside, along with cooler conditions, is likely a significant factor. For those who are looking for some action, take Chestnut and the under in 2021. But 79-degree temperatures could help Chestnut make a run for another world record.

Chestnut’s feats by the numbers

Since making his debut in the competitive eating scene in 2005, Chestnut has set or broken 54 different world records. His first was in ’05, when he consumed 47 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes. Chestnut’s most recent came in 2020 in the Blue Runner Red Beans and Rice Major League Eating Contest where he devoured 39.5 bowls (24 pounds and 11 ounces or ~36,000 calories) red beans and rice in 8 minutes.

In his 16 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contests, Chestnut has devoured 1,011 hot dogs and buns. Allow me to add context. 

Nathan’s lists its hot dogs at 3.5oz and 280 calories per bun-length dog. While it does not give exact size, the average bun-length dog is 6 inches. This means that Chestnut has consumed 6,066 inches of dogs. That’s 186.5 yards or 505.5 feet. 

If you were to stand all of his hot dogs on end, they would be taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza at the time of its construction (481 feet) and the current height of 454.4 feet. 

Including the bun, that’s 5,418.9 ounces or 338.68 pounds of HBDs. From a caloric intake perspective, it’s 414,510 calories (410 per HBD). Assuming the average, moderately active male between the ages of 26–45 needs 2,600 calories per day to maintain his weight, in a mear 166 minutes of competition, Chestnut has consumed 169.4 days worth of calories.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest past winners

With Chestnut the prohibitive favorite (-5000 & 73.5 o/u), can anyone else add their name to this list of past champions?

Men’s Champions and HBDs consumed

1972 – Jason Schechter (14)
1974 – Roberto Muriel (10)
1978 – Manel Hollenback (10)
1979 – Thomas Stash (19)
1980 – Joe Baldini and Paul Siederman (9)
1981 – Thomas DeBerry (11)
1982 – Steven Adams (11)
1983 – Emil Gomez (10.5)
1984 – Birgit Felden (9.5)
1985 – Oscar Rodriguez (11.75)
1986 – Mark Heller (15.5)
1987 – Don Wolfman (13.5)
1988 – Jay Green (10)
1989 – Jay Green (15.5)
1990 – Mike DeVito (16)
1991 – Frank Dellarosa (21.5)
1992 – Frank Dellarosa (19)
1993 – Mike DeVito (17)
1994 – Mike DeVito (20)
1995 – Ed Krachie (19.5)
1996 – Ed Krachie (22.25)
1997 – Hirofumi Nakajima (24.5)
1998 – Hirofumi Nakajima (19)
1999 – Steve Keiner (20.25)
2000 – Kazutoyo Arai (25.125)
2001 – Takeru Kobayashi (50)
2002 – Takeru Kobayashi (50)
2003 – Takeru Kobayashi (44.5)
2004 – Takeru Kobayashi (53.5)
2005 – Takeru Kobayashi (49)
2006 – Takeru Kobayashi (53.75)
2007 – Joey Chestnut (66)
2008 – Joey Chestnut (59)
2009 – Joey Chestnut (68)
2010 – Joey Chestnut (54)
2011 – Joey Chestnut (62)
2012 – Joey Chestnut (68)
2013 – Joey Chestnut (69)
2014 – Joey Chestnut (61)
2015 – Matt Stonie (62)
2016 – Joey Chestnut (70)
2017 – Joey Chestnut (72)
2018 – Joey Chestnut (74)
2019 – Joey Chestnut (71)
2020 – Joey Chestnut (75)

Women’s Champions and HBDs consumed

2011 – Sonya Thomas (40)
2012 – Sonya Thomas (45)
2013 – Sonya Thomas (36.75)
2014 – Miki Sudo (34)
2015 – Miki Sudo (38)
2016 – Miki Sudo (38)
2017 – Miki Sudo (41)
2018 – Miki Sudo (37)
2019 – Miki Sudo (31)
2020 – Miki Sudo (48.5)

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football and a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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