Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest mulls tech overhaul after scoring mistakes


Nathan’s Famous celebrates 100th birthday

Nathan’s Famous hot dog brand turns 100 this Memorial Day weekend. CEO Eric Gatoff talks about how the company is celebrating a century of feeding New York, how it keeps up with increased competition, and the right way to dress a hot dog.

The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest’s organizing body is considering a switch to automated scoring technology after judging mistakes briefly impacted the results of this year’s event, according to a report Thursday.

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Manual counts initially found that Joey Chestnut, the men’s champion, had eaten 64 hot dogs, rather than the world record-breaking 74 hot dogs that he actually consumed. Judges also miscounted the result for second-place finisher Carmen Cincotti, who was initially said to have eaten 45 hot dogs but had actually eaten 64.

The mistakes “might be the impetus to bring competitive eating into the digital age,” Major League Eating President Rich Shea told ESPN, adding that technology for monitoring the weight of hot dog plates could be a solution.

Scoring at the event, which takes place on New York’s Coney Island boardwalk every Fourth of July, has financial implications. Offshore sportsbooks took more than $1 million in wagers on the main event, ESPN reported.

In addition, competitive eaters at the hot dog contest compete for a total prize pool of $40,000, including $10,000 each for the winners of the men’s and women’s main events.

After winning this year’s event, Chestnut has now won 11 of the last 12 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests.

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