How to watch the 2024 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest — and what Joey Chestnut is doing instead

Contestants compete during a hot dog eating contest at Coney Island, New York City, the United States, on July 4, 2023. Named the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the annual event has occurred each July 4 on Coney Island since 1916, according to archives. Joey Chestnut, 39, won the first place for the 16th time by eating 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Miki Sudo, 37, won the women's championship for the ninth time on Tuesday morning by consuming 39.5 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)
The 2024 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest won't feel the same without Joey Chestnut, but the show must go on. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

The 2024 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is nearly here, but missing its marquee star Joey Chestnut.

With the 16-time champion out of the event due to a contract dispute, the Nathan's contest will proceed in its usual Fourth of July time slot and a guaranteed new champion in the men's competition. Meanwhile, nine-time champion Miki Sudo headlines the women's field at Coney Island.

Chestnut's ouster boils down to Major League Eating, the organizers behind the Nathan's contest, objecting to Chestnut's endorsement deal with Impossible Foods, which makes a plant-based hot dog. Chestnut responded to the ban in his first interview Tuesday, claiming that MLE changed its exclusivity conditions too late for him to stop his deal with Impossible and not ruling out a return in the future.

Chestnut is far from the only gurgitator to see his relationship with MLE go south. Takeru Kobayashi and Matt Stonie, the only other men to win the competition since 2000, both saw their time end due to disputes over exclusivity in their contract negotiations.

Of course, Chestnut isn't planning to spend his Fourth of July not gorging himself on hot dogs. He has set up his own event, the "Fort Bliss Meat and Greet," to take place not long after the Nathan's contest, in which he will attempt to out-eat four U.S. Army soldiers combined in a five-minute competition.

Here's how to watch everything on a hot dog-filled Fourth of July.

Date: Thursday, July 4
Women's competition time: 10:45 a.m. ET
Men's competition time: Noon ET
TV channel: ESPN2 (men only)
Streaming: ESPN3

Date: Thursday, July 4
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Streaming: Joey Chestnut's YouTube channel

With Chestnut out of the mix, all eyes — and a dedicated ESPN camera — will be fixed on Geoffrey Esper, the No. 2-ranked eater on MLE's roster. The 49-year-old Oxford, Massachusetts, native will be competing in the Nathan's contest for the ninth time and has finished second behind Chestnut the last three years in a row, downing 47 dogs in 2023.

Behind Esper will be 2023 third-place finisher James Webb and Nick Wehry, the third-ranked man on MLE's rankings.

Meanwhile, Sudo remains the overwhelming favorite to win her 10th belt in the women's competition. Right behind her is Japanese rising star Mayoi Ebihara, who burst onto the scene last year with 33.5 dogs, only six behind Sudo.

The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is a 10-minute competition in which contestants must eat both the hot dog and its bun, with an individual scorekeeper tallying their total behind them. Partial hot dogs are counted even if they're still being chewed at the end of the competition, as long as they are swallowed.

Contestants are allowed to drink water with their hot dogs and often dip them to soften the buns. Condiments are technically allowed but almost never used. Vomiting means instant disqualification.

Should two competitors be tied at the end of regulation, they will go into a sudden-death eat-off. The only such overtime in the event's history came in 2008, when Chestnut ate five hot dogs faster than Kobayashi to capture his second mustard belt.

Chestnut's event at Fort Bliss might only be his warm-up act, as he is scheduled to face his old rival Kobayashi in a Netflix-streamed event on Labor Day in September.

Before Chestnut, Kobayashi was the original crossover star for competitive eating, with six straight wins before Chestnut surpassed him in 2007.