How Much Money Does Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Give The Winner?

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is an American tradition. Since its first recorded competition in 1972, the contest has taken place on Coney Island, New York, on the Fourth of July each year. The competitors are given hero-like status for their eating athleticism. Eating 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes, the world record that professional competitive eater Joey Chestnut set in 2021, is not an easy feat. Although bragging rights to such an accomplishment are nice to have, all the prize money in competitive eating is even better. 

According to information shared with Mashed, winners of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest from both the men's and women's competitions receive a healthy sum of $10,000. This is a great payday for ten minutes of work. The second, third, fourth, and fifth-place winners of the men's and women's competitions are also awarded for their efforts, receiving $5,000, $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000, respectively. This adds up to $40,000 in total prize money. 

There's a lot of money in competitive eating

Major League Eating is the organization that oversees and sets rules and regulations for competitive eating contests, including Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, and there is a lot of prize money to be won within its circuit of competitions. According to Forbes, this number could sit between $400,000 and $500,000. For example, the Ultimate Bologna Showdown has a pot of $10,000 to split between winners, and a Strawberry Shortcake Eating Championship totals $5,000 in prizes. With its total of $40,000 in prize money, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is MLE's most famous competition. Over 40,000 people watch it in person, and millions more view the contest's televised broadcast on ESPN. As a result, it receives an immense amount of press coverage and is widely known across the country.

In fact, there is a lot of money besides the prize purse in Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Joey Chestnut, who has won the contest 16 times, has gone on to do many brand deals based on his competitive eating fame. One of these includes a deal with a Nathan's competitor, the plant-based Impossible Foods. Due to this brand endorsement, Joey Chestnut can't compete in 2024's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, but he will likely be back for other competitions to come since he is not banned for life.