The Competitive Eater Worth $2 Million

Joey Chestnut ate a world record 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes on Sunday, winning his 14th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

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Friends,

As a massive -5000 favorite in the days leading up to the competition — you would have to bet $5,000 to win $100 — Joey Chestnut broke his own world record on Sunday, eating 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes and winning his 14th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

For context, that’s about 1 hot dog every 8 seconds….for 10 minutes.

Nutrional Info (76 hot dogs w buns)

  • Calories: 22,800

  • Total Fat: 1,324

  • Carbohydrates: 1,824

  • Protein: 836

Winning by about 20 hot dogs on average, this is Joey Chestnut’s 14th victory in the last 15 years.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Champion

  • 2007: Joey Chestnut

  • 2008: Joey Chestnut

  • 2009: Joey Chestnut

  • 2010: Joey Chestnut

  • 2011: Joey Chestnut

  • 2012: Joey Chestnut

  • 2013: Joey Chestnut

  • 2014: Joey Chestnut

  • 2015: Matt Stonie

  • 2016: Joey Chestnut

  • 2017: Joey Chestnut

  • 2018: Joey Chestnut

  • 2019: Joey Chestnut

  • 2020: Joey Chestnut

  • 2021: Joey Chestnut

The part you didn’t know? Despite never earning more than $10,000 for each of his Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest victories, Joey Chestnut has built up an impressive net worth of more than $2 million.

First, some history. Joey Chestnut grew up in Vallejo, California, earning a degree in engineering and construction management from San Jose State University. But when money was tight in college, and Chestnut had a reputation back home for being able to devour large amounts of food, his brother signed him up for his first contest in 2005.

“A free hotel stay at a casino and all the lobster I can eat? Sure, I’ll give it shot.”

Despite seeing competitive eating as a strange concept — eat as fast as you can on stage with music blasting & people screaming at you — Chestnut loved it and hasn’t looked back since.

Since 2005, Joey Chestnut has competed in more than 20 events each year and holds dozens of the strangest world records you can imagine.

Joey Chestnut World Records

  • Nathan's hot dogs: 76 dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

  • Hard-boiled eggs: 141 in 8 minutes.

  • Glazed donuts: 55 in 8 minutes.

  • Pulled pork sandwiches: 45 in 10 minutes.

  • Taco Bell softshell beef tacos: 53 in 10 minutes

  • Krystals hamburgers: 103 in 8 minutes

  • Twinkies: 121 in 6 minutes.

  • Chicken wings: 413 in 12 hours 

  • Big Mac sandwiches: 32 in 38 minutes.

  • Tamales: 102 in 12 minutes.

  • Grilled cheese sandwiches: 47 in 10 minutes.

  • Ice-cream sandwiches: 25.5 in 6 minutes.

  • Pepperoni rolls: 43 in 10 minutes.

But, unfortunately, Major League Eating (MLE), the organization that holds professional competitive eating events, doesn’t offer lucrative multi-million dollar contracts or massive cash prizes.

For example, despite continuously winning the sports marquee annual event held on July 4th, Joey Chestnut has only taken home a combined $140,000 for his 14 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest victories.

The total purse is $40,000 and here is how its broken down:

  • First place: $10,000

  • Second place: $5,000

  • Third place: $2,500

  • Fourth place: $1,500

  • Fifth place: $1,000

So how does Joey Chestnut make all his money? Well, he eats…a lot.

With about 3,500 competitive eating contests every year in the United States, and the average purse ranging from $1,000 to $8,500, the only way to make any real money is to compete and win all year long — which is exactly what Chestnut has done.

From 2005 to 2021, Joey Chestnut has competed in hundreds of contests and won more than $600,000 in prize money. But more importantly, Chesnut has parlayed his increase in popularity into multiple endorsement deals.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Chestnut makes between $250,000 and $500,000 per year from winning competitions and endorsement deals with Hooters, Hostess, Coney Island IPA, and, of course, Pepto Bismol.

Chestnut also owns his own line of condiments for hot dogs, brats, sausages, wings, sandwiches, and more, but it’s unclear if he currently turns a profit on that business venture.

Ultimately, competitive eating isn’t necessarily a “sport” that should be glorified — the consequences to one’s health are obvious — but the fact that Joey Chestnut has built up a multi-million dollar net worth through two decades of domination is certainly impressive.

With the annual July 4th contest broadcasted by ESPN and becoming more popular year-over-year, it’ll be interesting to see how prize money changes over time, if at all.

I hope each of you had a great weekend. Talk to everyone tomorrow.


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