ESPN to Televise Nathanís July 4th Contest Through 2017
ESPN Extends Agreement with Major League Eating to Televise Nathanís Hot Dog Eating Contest Through 2017
2012 Contest to be Televised July 4 on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET
ESPN has reached an agreement with Major League Eating, in conjunction with Nathanís Famous, Inc., that provides the network exclusive rights to televise a one-hour show of the Nathanís Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest each year through 2017.
The agreement is a five-year extension of an existing contract between the entities. The event consistently generates powerful ratings and has become a holiday viewing tradition for millions of Americans. Last yearís July 4th telecast set a viewership record with 1.95 million live viewers and nearly nine million viewers total on July 4, including two re-airs.
This yearís event will be televised on ESPN on Wednesday, July 4, at 3 p.m. ET, following ESPNís exclusive live coverage of the Wimbledon Gentlemenís Quarterfinals. The show will include in-depth analysis of the eating competition by motorsports broadcaster Paul Page and Major League Eatingís Richard Shea, with reporting by television host Renee Herlocker. The one-hour telecast will also include coverage of the Womenís Championship. This year will be the ninth consecutive year ESPN has televised the event.
George Shea, MLE chairman, will host the stage show for the historic contest, which has been held in Coney Island, NY, for decades and attracts top eating talent from around the world. The current world hot dog eating record is held by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., who consumed 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes and who will seek his sixth straight title this year. The 100-pound eating phenom Sonya Thomas, who consumed 40 hot dogs and buns last year, will defend her title as female eating champion of the world.
ďThis telecast has always been a huge success for ESPN and so we are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with MLE and Nathanís Famous serving fans this annual holiday treat,Ē said Jason Bernstein, Sr. Director, Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN. ďWeíve never had a bigger appetite for this annual world championship event.Ē
ďThe Nathanís Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has become a critical part of the July 4 holiday in America and beyond,Ē said David Baer of MLE. ďIt is an honor for MLE and Nathanís Famous to be associated with ESPN and the quality programming it produces.Ē
The 10-minute, all-you-can-eat contest will take place on Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at the corners of Surf and Stillwell avenues near Coney Islandís historic boardwalk. More than twenty-five eating athletes from around the world will compete for the respective Menís and Womenís July 4th Hot Dog Eating World Championship Belts.
In addition to the ESPN telecast, the Nathanís Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest will also be available on ESPN3, streaming live on WatchESPN, and will re-air at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.