For the first time ever, ESPN will air the 2004 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest live from Coney Island, N.Y., Sunday, July 4 at noon (EST).
Gary Miller will host and be joined by George Shea and Richard Shea of the International Federation of Competitive Eating and ESPN.com (msn.espn.go.com) sports-business reporter Darren Rovell, who has covered the event for SportsCenter and ESPN.com for the past two years.
The network’s coverage will feature a 40-minute “pregame” segment highlighting the history of the event and outlining the rules of the competition, followed by the 12-minute, all-you-can-eat contest.
A total of 20 eating competitors will participate, including current world hot-dog-eating record-holder Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi, who polished off 50 ½ hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes in 2001.
“From the Stanley Cup Finals to the National Spelling Bee, every ESPN-televised event shares a common link: a competitive core,” ESPN director of programming Julie Sobieski said in a prepared statement.
“The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will add a little mustard to our wide programming variety by showcasing a fun, historical competition featuring amazing individual performances,” she added.