ESPN has officially released a statement to explain what happened on Sunday during Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Contrary to popular belief, July 4th weekend is not just a time for grilling and fireworks. It’s also a time to watch adults stuff their faces full of hotdogs. But viewers didn’t quite get everything they signed up for on Sunday when coverage of the annual event was cut short. The ESPN feed from the event kept freezing before cutting out completely with less than a minute to go.
In the end, it was Joey Chesnut, a 13-time champion and record-holder who came out on top. With the victory, he is now a 14-time champion, having won 14 of the last 15 hot dog eating contests. His first win came back in 2007 when he upset the six-time defending champion, Takeru Kobayashi.
Not only that, but he was able to break his own world record of eating 75 hot dogs in ten minutes. He set that last year while competing in a crowd-free environment thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And although fans were able to see the results for themselves afterward, they were rightfully upset that ESPN’s live footage was cut short in the final minute. As a matter of fact, angry fans took to social media to express just how upset they were that they couldn’t see the reigning hot dog king, Joey Chesnut, break his own record.
“As a Disney shareholder, I demand accountability for today’s failure to properly deliver the Hot Dog Eating Contest,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“Somehow at a hot dog eating contest, the only ones to choke were ESPN,” one follower responded.
ESPN Releases a Statement Regarding Technical Difficulties During Hot Dog Contest
It has been a long time since ESPN — the nation’s most prominent sports network — has encountered technical difficulties during a sporting event. And it could not have come at a more inopportune time on Sunday. However, the sports network released a statement in the aftermath of what had happened.
“The issue was the result of a problem with uplink service provided by a vendor at the site,” ESPN told The Hollywood Reporter. “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 ESPN 2 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.”
But it was business as usual for Joey Chesnut. Prior to his big day, he took to social media to wish his fans a happy 4th of July.
“Happy 4th of July!! I’m hungry for hot dogs!” Chesnut posted. “Hungry for a 14th title! Hungry for the future! Stay happy and hungry!”
ESPN posted footage from his epic entrance. Take a look down below: