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Joey Chestnut Out of 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Over Deal With Competitor



Joey Chestnut won’t get the chance to win a 17th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest this summer.

Per Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post, Chestnut won’t be competing in this year’s Fourth of July competition due to his deal to represent Impossible Foods, a plant-based brand that is a rival of Nathan’s.

TMZ noted that “event organizers are keeping the door open” for Chestnut to return to the competition if he backs out on the sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods. If he goes through with the deal, the organizers reportedly would “welcome him back with open arms” whenever the deal expires.

In addition to being a 16-time champion, Chestnut has won the contest every year since 2016. He set a world record by eating 76 hot dogs in 2021, and he held onto his title last year by downing 62 hot dogs.

A representative for Major League Eating told Cuozzo that the organization has gone out of its way to appease Chestnut’s demands over the years. He was allowed to participate in a rival Labor Day dog-eating fest that would be filmed by Netflix as long as no hot dog brand was mentioned. However, Chestnut’s choice to be the face of a different brand was seen as an overstep.

“We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest,” a statement from MLE said. “MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths to accommodate Joey and his management team, agreeing to the appearance fee and allowing Joey to compete in a rival, unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day.”

The statement continued: “For nearly two decades we have worked under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions. However, it seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different brand over our long-time relationship. Joey Chestnut is an American hero. We would love nothing more than to have him at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. We hope he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

Cuozzo reported that Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in last year’s Nathan’s contest and was also offered a four-year, $1.2 million contract.

The terms of his deal with Impossible Foods were not disclosed.

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