Where is the hot dog eating contest in 2020? New Coney Island location after move during COVID-19
The location of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2020 technically has not changed from its traditional setting in terms of geography. The world’s best competitive eaters will still assemble in Coney Island, a neighborhood on the southern coast of Brooklyn, N.Y., to consume absurd amounts of hot dogs and buns.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, though, the 2020 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will not be the public, outdoor party it has been for so many years.
That’s the bad news for anybody who was hoping to attend the hot dog eating contest that traditionally is held on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island. The good news is ESPN will still broadcast this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, with coverage starting at noon ET Saturday, July 4.
Below is all you need to know about the location change for the 2020 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Where is the hot dog eating contest in 2020?
Major League Eating, the organization that oversees the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contests and all other professional eating contests, makes clear in its release that this year’s July 4 event will still take place in Coney Island, Brooklyn, N.Y., where it has been every year since 1916.
The difference in 2020, per the release, is that the hot dog eating contest will take place “in a private location with COVID-19 safety measures in place.” The 2020 hot dog eating contest will take place indoors at a location not far from the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues.
Thousands of people typically attend the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, so MLE needed to keep the location of the 2020 event undisclosed to the public.
MLE also announced the 2020 hot dog eating contest will include just five competitors in both the men’s and women’s competitions, rather than the traditional 15 in each, to account for social distancing guidelines amid the pandemic.
“While I know all New Yorkers would relish the opportunity to watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th, an event like this can only go forward if the appropriate non-essential gathering and sanitation guidance can be followed,” Governor Andrew Cuomo’s spokesperson Jack Sterne recently told the New York Post.
Said MLE competition host George Shea: “We had an enormous number of inquiries related to, ‘Will it happen, please don’t cancel.’ We were very pleased to be able to figure it out. I think that there are a lot of people very happy to have something typical of the summer. …
“You can’t cancel Thanksgiving, you can’t cancel Christmas and you can’t cancel the Fourth of July. And canceling the hot dog contest would be like canceling the Fourth of July. That is why we had to make it work one way or another.”
The new location for the 2020 hot dog eating contest is actually a game-changer, as the competition that typically takes place outdoors in the heat and humidity of July now will be held in a controlled climate that should benefit the competitors.
“There’s a little bit of a bonus, because we’re gonna be eating in air conditioning and there are less eaters,” said Joey Chestnut, who has won 12 of the last 13 men’s hot dog eating contests, in a recent chat with TMZ.
Chestnut, of course, set a world record when he ate 74 hot dogs and buns during the 2018 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. He dropped to 71 hot dogs and buns during his win last year, but the unique circumstances of the 2020 event have him motivated to notch a new record.
“There’s a good chance that we might have better conditions for a world record, and I’ma be pushing for it,” Chestnut told TMZ. “My record of 74 … 75 just sounds like a good number, but we’ll see. If I’m feeling it, if I’m in the perfect rhythm, 77 is doable.”
ESPN’s coverage of the 2020 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is scheduled to start at noon ET on Saturday. The women’s competition coverage will begin at 12:20 p.m. ET, and the men’s competition coverage will begin at 12:40 p.m. ET.
Encore presentations of the hot dog eating contest will air later Saturday on ESPN2 (4 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET) and on ESPNews (2 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET). It will also re-air Sunday on ESPNNews (midnight ET and 2 p.m. ET) and on ESPN2 (11 p.m. ET).
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