When it comes to sponsorships, few brands are more closely linked to an event as Nathan’s Famous and its annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. The event has been held since the early 1970s. (For years, promoters sold a now-debunked myth that the contest dates back to 1916). The pandemic put a damper on last year’s contest when organizers had to move it to an indoor private location with social distancing and other precautions. That did not stop legendary competitive eater Joey Chesnut from winning his 13th “Mustard Belt.”This year the contest is back to normal with a live audience at Coney Island starting at 11 a.m. ET. Instead of its usual spot outside Nathan’s flagship restaurant, though, the event is being held at nearby Maimonides Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team. ESPN will broadcast the women’s contest at 11 a.m. EDT, followed by the men’s contest at 12:30 p.m.
Details to digest before Nathan's Fourth of July hot dog eating contest
While viewership fell in 2020, the annual tradition offers unique marketing opportunities. Procter & Gamble’s Bounty has been promoting its new partnership with Major League Eating in the days leading up to the Independence Day event.
If you are planning to watch the event, or just want to impress friends with your contest knowledge at a Fourth of July barbecue, we’ve got you covered with these trivia tidbits:
HDB: Want to really sound like a competitive eating fan? Use that term to describe how many hot dogs and buns each eater consumes.
75: How many HDBs Joey Chestnut gobbled up in 2021, his latest record.
10: The number of minutes the contestants have to eat as many hot dogs as possible.
13: The number of times Chestnut has won the contest, beginning in 2007. (Matt Stonie beat Chestnut in 2015.)
6: How many times Takeru Kobayashi won the contest, annually from 2001 to 2006.
48.5: The record number of hot dogs eaten by women’s winner Miki Sudo in 2020, her seventh consecutive win. Organizers announced Sudo is not scheduled to compete in 2021.
966,000: The average number of TV viewers tuning in last year, the lowest draw since 2005, according to The Wrap.
30,000: How many people turn out, in a typical year, to watch the contest at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, according to organizers.
100,000: The number of hot dogs Nathan’s Famous donates to the Food Bank for New York City annually as part of the event.
Five or six: How many days it takes Chestnut to get back to his target weight after competing, he told Ad Age in 2018.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz