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Nathan’s Famous 4th Of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest viewers were not pleased with ESPN on Sunday when coverage of the annual event cut out with less than a minute to go.
It was fairly clear when the live stream stopped that reigning Nathan’s champ Joey Chestnut was going to have a 14th victory, but he did set a new record with 76 franks in 10 minutes that fans wanted to witness. However, the ESPN feed kept freezing and then cut out out completely. Once the feed was back, the event was over.
Needless to say, angry viewers took to Twitter, grilling ESPN for the botched streaming. “As a Disney shareholder, I demand accountability for today’s failure to properly deliver the Hot Dog Eating Contest,” read one tweet. “Somehow at a hot dog eating contest, the only ones to choke were ESPN,” read another post among a slew with some NSFW language.
Said ESPN in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “The issue was the result of a problem with uplink service provided by a vendor at the site. Our teams worked with the vendor to troubleshoot and resolve it quickly. The disruption will not occur during encore presentations of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest airing today on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. ET and on ESPNews at 6 p.m. ET, and on Monday, July 5th on ESPNNews at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.”
As for the results of the contest, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut destroyed the competition, setting a new record, nabbing yet another Mustard Belt for the No. 1 World-Ranked Professional Eater. And he did it in front of a live audience, which was absent last year due to the pandemic. Chestnut has now been the victor of 14 of the last 15 hot dog eating contests. His first win was in 2007 when he beat the six-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi.
The second-place finisher on Sunday was Geoffrey Esper with 50 hot dogs.
12:18 p.m.: Updated with statement from ESPN.
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