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Sunday, July 14, 2024

The 10 Most Watched Hot Dog Eating Contests of All-Time

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating champion Joey Chestnut's belt before the Lugnuts game against the TinCaps on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, at Jackson Field in Lansing. Chestnut was participating in an olive burger eating contest before the game.
Credit: Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is a Fourth of July tradition that rivals any other. In fact, it has generated a higher rating than any MLB telecast played on the same day.

It all began in 1972 in Coney Island at Nathan’s Famous flagship hot dog stand location. 

Tens of thousands of people gather every year to see the spectacle of which contestants can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes. Millions more tune in at home.

In its decades-long history, the most-watched hot dog eating contests have come within the last 15 years.

The most-watched contest came in 2014, with 2.8 million viewers tuning in.

Although it was the highest-rated hot dog eating contest, its audience watched on a tape delay that evening after a World Cup match. It’s the only contest among the top five most-watched where its largest audience did not tune in live.

The 2011 edition is the second most-watched hot dog eating contest with 1.949 million total viewers. It was the first contest featuring a separate women’s competition. Before that year, women competed alongside men.

Sonya Thomas won the women’s competition by downing 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She was rewarded with $10,000 and a Pepto-Bismol-sponsored pink belt. Viewers also saw Joey “Jaws” Chestnut eat 62 hot dogs on his way to his fifth straight title.

Third with 1.677 million viewers is the hot dog eating contest from 2010. It was the first contest without Takeru Kobayashi, the Japanese contestant who dominated the competition during the 2000s. He won six straight titles from 2001 to 2006.

2015 is the only year that Takeru Kobayashi or Joey Chestnut didn’t take home the men’s title, yet it’s the last on the list with 1.129 million viewers.

The three most-watched contests featured guest announcers who helped hype up the action. Cari Champion featured alongside regular announcers Paul Page and Richard Shea in 2014, the most-watched contest.

The Most Watched Hot Dog Eating Contests Ever

Here is the list of the top 10 most-watched hot dog eating contests based on total viewers. The list was compiled using historical data from Nielsen and SportsMediaWatch.

  • Updated: July 2, 2024
RankingYearWinnerHot Dogs Eaten by WinnerTotal Viewers
12014Women’s: Miki Sudo
Men’s: Joey Chestnut
Sudo: 34
Chestnut: 69
2.8 million (tape delay)
22011Women’s: Sonya Thomas
Men’s: Joey Chestnut
Thomas: 40
Chestnut: 62
1.949 million
32010Joey Chestnut541.677 million
42007Joey Chestnut661.632 million
52006Takeru Kobayashi53.751.46 million
62019Women’s: Miki Sudo
Men’s: Joey Chestnut
Sudo: 31
Chestnut: 71
1.36 million
72009Joey Chestnut681.34 million
82016Women’s: Miki Sudo
Men’s: Joey Chestnut
Sudo: 38.5
Chestnut: 70
1.3 million (tape delay)
92012Women’s: Sonya Thomas
Men’s: Joey Chestnut
Thomas: 45
Chestnut: 68
1.299 million
102015Women’s: Miki Sudo
Men’s: Matt Stonie
Sudo: 38
Stonie: 62
1.129 million

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