The Fourth of July is coming this weekend, which means fireworks and outdoor cookouts. Some will enjoy a hot dog or two…perhaps even three. Meanwhile, a select few will consume many more than that in Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The contest has not only become a popular television event, but a betting event as well. For the second straight year, DraftKings will be the official sponsor of the eating contest. It’s offering a free-to-play game for everyone and real money wagering on it in select states.
DraftKings helps contest viewers have ‘skin in the game’
Once again, Nathan’s Famous Corporation is hosting the event at its flagship restaurant on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. After holding it indoors and without fans last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an audience with tickets being sold to the public. The event takes place Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with ESPN starting its live broadcast at 12 noon.
The New York-based organization Major League Eating is sanctioning the event, much as it has done every year since 1997. Typically the contest attracts around 20 contestants, with separate men’s and women’s competitions. Contestants have 10 minutes to consume as many hot dogs (including buns) as they can, and they are allowed to drink water or other beverages as they do.
Last year Joey Chestnut of Indianapolis, Indiana won his fifth straight title and 13th overall, breaking his own world record by eating 75 hot dogs during the allotted 10 minutes. New York native Miki Sudo who lives in Tampa, Florida won the women’s competition last year, also setting a new record by consuming 48.5 hot dogs. That was Sudo’s seventh straight title.
Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations at DraftKings, voiced enthusiasm about the event and DraftKings’ involvement.
“The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest is an epic event that epitomizes both patriotism and the will to compete,” said Avello. “We are excited to work with Major League Eating once again to offer people everywhere the opportunity to engage with this July Fourth tradition with true skin in the game.”
Free-to-play $25K contest plus wagering in selected sportsbooks
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a free $25,000 pool based available to everyone in the US, regardless of their location. The contest invites participants to answer the following eight props regarding the contest:
- Who will win the Men’s Championship?
- Who will win the Women’s Championship?
- Will the existing men’s record of 75 hot dogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes be broken?
- Will the existing women’s record of 48.5 hot dogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes be broken?
- How many men’s contestants will eat 50 or more hot dogs?
- Where will Geoffrey Esper finish?
- How many hot dogs will defending champion and world record holder Joey Chestnut eat?
- In the World Chugging Championship undercard, will Eric “Badlands” Booker chug a gallon of lemonade in under one minute?
Each person is only allowed one entry, and the $25,000 prize pool will be divided among the top 6,163 finishers. Find the contest under “Pools” in the DraftKings Sportsbook.
DraftKings is also offering real money wagering on the contest in its Colorado, New Jersey, and New Hampshire sportsbooks. There bettors can place various wagers on who will win, the over/under on Chestnut’s total, head-to-head bets on certain contestants to place higher, and more.
Chestnut, Sudo look to continue their domination
There’s an invented mythology surrounding the contest suggesting it originated in 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the restaurant. In truth, the contest only dates back to the early 1970s when hot dog eating competitions began at Nathan’s on the Fourth of July and occasionally on other holidays.
It gained increased exposure and fame once ESPN began airing coverage of it starting in 2003. Typically over a million viewers tune in to watch the live broadcast each year.
Neither the men’s nor the women’s contests was competitive last year. In the men’s competition, Chestnut’s 75 hot dogs consumed was well ahead of second-place Darron Breeden‘s 42 hot dogs. Meanwhile in the women’s, Sudo’s 48.5 hot dogs eaten was more than twice the 18 hot dogs second-place finisher Larell Marie Mele was able to consume.
Following tradition, Nathan’s famous will donate 100,000 hot dogs to the nonprofit organization Food Bank For New York City.
If you’re entering the free pool, you may have settled on answers to most of those questions listed above. If you’re wondering about Geoffrey Esper, he did not compete last year, but in 2019 ate 47 hot dogs to finish third behind Chestnut and Breeden. Breeden, by the way, did manage to eat 50 that year. That was his personal high mark and the only time anyone other than Chestnut has reached that total.
Best of luck to those entering the pool or wagering on the contest. And to everyone, here’s hoping you have a fun Fourth and are able to relish time with friends and family (No bun intended.)