Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2024: Where is Joey Chestnut?

Photo: ESPN

Leading up to today’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN, the status of Joey Chestnut was a top story. Where is he? What’s going on? This is really one of the more bizarre stories of the year, mostly because it looks at the breakdown between corporate sponsorship and competition.

Here’s the bare-bones version of it: After signing a deal to rival Impossible Foods, Chestnut was barred from the July 4 tradition, which is of course put on by Nathan’s. They obviously want to monopolize promotion at their own event, which makes sense. However, isn’t there a way for a compromise here? Couldn’t Chestnut compete still without promoting another brand? It’s all complicated and at first, we honestly thought that this was theater and Joey would still show up at the last minute like it was a pro wrestling event. Now, we don’t think that is the case.

After all, it seems like Joey is doing what he can to book events elsewhere this year. Later today, he will be taking part in a hot-dog contest to raise money for military families, which you can see over at the link here. Meanwhile, on September 2, Chestnut will be squaring off in a Labor Day contest versus his one-time rival Kobayashi, which is going to stream live on Netflix. We’re basically talking here about the most-popular competitive eater of the present in Joey facing off against the guy who really popularized such competitions years ago. If you have heard of two people within this field, it’s probably these two.

Will a hot-dog event work on a day other than July 4? That remains to be seen, but it’s hard to be that stoked about any winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest today, at least from the men’s side. After all, would they really be able to take home the trophy if Joey was there? That is the mystery, and it’s a clear one without an answer right now.

Do you think the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is worth watching without Joey Chestnut?

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