July 13, 2024

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Joey Chestnut faces off against Takeru Kobayashi in a winner-takes-all hot dog eating contest on Netflix

Joey Chestnut faces off against Takeru Kobayashi in a winner-takes-all hot dog eating contest on Netflix

The biggest competition in professional eating has been revived.

Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi are set to compete in a winner-take-all hot dog eating contest that will stream live on Netflix on Labor Day (September 2), the streaming service announced on Wednesday. The special – “Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef” – will determine who is the hot dog eating champion.

Chestnut, 40, and Kobayashi, 46, have not competed against each other since 2009, when Chestnut beat Kobayashi — who won the competition every year from 2001 to 2006 — in a five-hot dog sudden death.

Chestnut is a 16-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion, and holds the world record of 76 times. And on Tuesday, Major League Eating announced that Chestnut would not participate in this year’s Fourth of July competition due to a deal it struck with a competing vegan hot dog. The brand is called Impossible Foods.

“I was devastated to learn from the media that after 19 years I was banned from participating in Nathan’s 4th of July hot dog eating contest,” Chestnut wrote in X on Tuesday. “I love competing in this event, and I love celebrating America with my fans across this great country on the 4th, and I have been training to defend my title.”

Now, that training will be tested against an ancient enemy.

“In all my years of competitive eating, Kobayashi has emerged as my fiercest competitor,” Chestnut said in a statement. “Competing against him has pushed me to be that much better. I know the fans have waited a long time for another chapter of our rivalry and I can’t wait for our huge showdown live on Netflix! It’s time to give the people what they want!”

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The Japan native is largely credited with popularizing competitive eating. In 2001, he nearly doubled the previous record held for most hot dogs eaten at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship, and went on to break his own record three times.

In 2010, Kobayashi was banned from competing in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest due to a contract dispute with the Major League Eating Championship, which imposed sanctions on the event.

Many reports cited Kobayashi announcing his retirement in the Netflix movie “Hack Your Health — The Secrets of Your Gut” in May, but Kobayashi said in a statement, “Retirement for me will not happen until I get rid of (Chestnut) one last time.”

“This rivalry has been brewing for a long time. Competing against Joey live on Netflix means fans around the world can watch me knock him out,” Kobayashi said.

The location and time of the competition will be announced at a later time, according to the Netflix website.

A Netflix spokesperson did not immediately respond to a query from The athlete About winner takes all risks.

How does Chestnut vs. Kobayashi with Netflix sports wallet

Last month marked a seismic shift for Netflix when it announced it had acquired exclusive rights to stream two NFL games on Christmas Day 2024 — the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Houston Texans. (The three-season deal includes at least one Christmas Day game in 2025 and 2026.) But the streaming giant won’t abandon its longtime live sports philosophy, which is the stuff of side-by-side sports.

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This has been reflected in one-off exhibition events like the Netflix Cup, the Netflix Slam, and the upcoming PT Barnum-inspired match between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul. Even Netflix’s recent deal with WWE — which paid more than $5 billion for the exclusive rights to the long-running “Raw” franchise, along with other rights outside the United States — could be classified as bordering on sports since WWE falls within sports entertainment. “Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef” fits Netflix’s desire to find something related (very loosely here) to the sport but not part of a traditional professional league. The exclusion of chestnuts from Nathan’s 2024 sausage-eating contest in beef over vegan franks is a publicity gift from the gods.

Sure, you may hate yourself for watching, but so will many of you. — Richard Deitch, sports media writer

(Photo: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)