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Non-Public Event in Coney Island to Raise Funds for Food Banks, Honor Essential Workers

One of the First Major Televised Post-COVID Competitive Events will Feature World Champions Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo Defending Titles

Nathan’s Famous will conduct the 2020 Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island on Saturday, July 4, 2020. The annual contest, an American holiday tradition that traditionally has been held on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues for generations, will take place in a private location with COVID-19 safety measures in place. It is one of the first major televised post-COVID competitive events to be held in the United States.

The event will feature 10-minute competitions for leading male and female eaters, including Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA, and Miki Sudo of Torrington, CT. Twelve-time champion Chestnut holds the world record of 74 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Sudo, whose all-time best is 41 hot dogs and buns, has won the contest six times. The women’s world record is 45 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

“We’re ecstatic to make the announcement that the Hot Dog-Eating Contest will take place this year,” states James Walker, Nathan’s Famous Senior Vice President, Restaurants. “2020 has been a year for the history books, and the realization that this storied July 4th tradition would be able to occur, is a great feeling. With that being said, our country and our world has endured so much in the last couple of months, that we’d be remiss if we didn’t use this moment to honor those that have done so much for each of us during this time.”

This year, the contest -- which features an annual donation of 100,000 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs to Food Bank for New York City -- will be dedicated to raising funds for food banks and to raising awareness of food bank needs. Major League Eating and individual eaters will make donations to food banks and use the contest as a platform to highlight the work of these organizations. The contest also will be used as a platform to honor essential workers in New York City, many of whom have not received recognition for their efforts.

“We owe so much to those that kept our communities fed and cared for during this unprecedented time, and we look forward to honoring them on July 4th,” continues Walker.

On a typical July 4, thousands have made the pilgrimage to Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the event in person. While this is not possible this year, ESPN will air its 12 noon ET telecast of the contest, which routinely draws an audience of millions. Each of the contests will include five eaters, rather than the usual 15, to allow for social distancing.

“The Nathan’s Famous contest is synonymous with July 4th, America and the celebration of freedom,” said contest host George Shea. “We are honored to use the contest to highlight the incredible spirit of those who have supported our city and nation through the current challenge.”

The women’s competition coverage will begin at 12:20 pm ET and the men’s competition coverage will begin at 12:40 pm ET. ESPN will televise the event for the 17th consecutive year, featuring Mike Golic Jr. who will do play-by-play of the eating competition. The show will also include an in-depth analysis by Major League Eating’s Richard Shea, with reporting by ESPN’s Jason Fitz.

According to Major League Eating ("MLE") archives, the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY, since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the legendary restaurant. MLE, the governing body of all stomach-centric sport, sanctions the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit and ensures the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.


About Nathan’s Famous Nathan’s is a Russell 2000 Company that currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and ten foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. Last year, over 700 million Nathan’s Famous hot dogs were sold. Nathan’s was ranked #22 on the Forbes 2014 list of the Best Small Companies in America and was listed as the Best Small Company in New York State in October 2013. For additional information about Nathan’s, please visit our website at

Except for historical information contained in this news release, the matters discussed are forward looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended that involve risks and uncertainties. Words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which are based on the current belief of the Company’s management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the Company’s management. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include but are not limited to: the status of our licensing and supply agreements, including the impact of our supply agreement for hot dogs with John Morrell & Co.; the impact of the recent COVID-19 outbreak; the impact of our indebtedness, including the effect on our ability to fund working capital, operations and make new investments; economic; weather (including the impact on the supply of cattle and the impact on sales at our restaurants particularly during the summer months), and change in the price of beef trimmings; our ability to pass on the cost of any price increases in beef and beef trimmings; legislative and business conditions; the collectability of receivables; changes in consumer tastes; the ability to attract franchisees; the impact of the minimum wage legislation on labor costs in New York State or other changes in labor laws, including regulations which could render a franchisor as a “joint employee” or the impact of our new union contracts; our ability to attract competent restaurant and managerial personnel; the enforceability of international franchising agreements; the future effects of any food borne illness, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE and e coli; and the risk factors reported from time to time in the Company’s SEC reports. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking statements.

PRESS CONTACT: Major League Eating, (212) 627-5766 Adriana Ball, ; George Shea, Richard Shea

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