The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has established itself as an annual July 4 television tradition. For 17 straight years, ESPN has aired the event live, helping turn competitive eaters like Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi into household names. Now the Coney Island-based event will have two new toppings: unique safety measures to protect eaters from the coronavirus pandemic and sports betting.
This year’s edition will be open for legal betting in three states for the first time in its history, with Colorado, New Hampshire, and New Jersey all allowing legal sportsbooks to set odds and wagers.
DraftKings will serve as Major League Eating’s official sports betting partner for the event, and will also offer a free-to-play contest with a $25,000 prize in states where betting is not available.
Chestnut — who is competing for a record 13th title — is the favorite, and will only compete against five other competitors as a result of the safety measures. The women’s event will also be reduced in size with just five competitors. The hot dog eating contest will be held in an undisclosed private location.