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An open letter to ESPN

By MLE gurgitator and official R&H reporter Tracy 'Mmm Mmm' Goode

Posted June 05, 2014
nathan's 2013
The gobathon of gobathons: Beats the hell out of tennis, mate. © Matt Stonie (pictured right)

US broadcaster ESPN will not be showing live coverage of Nathan's this year. Like a lot of people, Tracy 'Mmm Mmm' Goode ain't best pleased.

The following is an open letter to ESPN from Major League Eating (MLE) gurgitator and official Rake & Herald reporter Tracy 'Mmm Mmm' Goode. It comes in the light of news that ESPN will not be broadcasting the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Noi Yoik live this year. Instead, it will be covering some tennis match or something and then showing a recording of the gobathon of gobathons at 14:00 Eastern Time. For further details on the ESPN Nathan's schedule, our cherished and beloved readers are advised to check out this post by OJ Rifkin on the ever excellent Eat Feats.


I have been watching the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Championships for as long as I can recall.

For years it was the only thing I watched on your network (sorry I was bookish).

The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Championships are once again being delayed on TV for Wimbledon's semi-finals.

Here are my complaints/suggestions:

America won the war, not England.

While I must admit I do hold a soft spot in my heart for the British – the Beatles, Monty Python, Douglas Adams and Shakespeare – the Fourth of July is indeed the celebration of all things American and what is more American than the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Championships?

These men and women work hard to qualify for the honor1 of being on Competitive Eating's Grandest Stage of Them All, only to be tape-delayed for the Wimbledon semi-finals?

I don't remember seeing a single qualifying event for Nathan's on TV.

It feels to me you are delaying a Super Bowlesque event to watch some people practice tennis.

For three years now the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Championships have been divided into two fields: Men's and Women's.

I have not seen a single Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Women’s Championship on TV, only highlights.

You have 60 minutes of TV time, both contests are 10 minutes and if my math2 is right that leaves 40 minutes, and you've shown the same Sports Medicine spot for years, which is informative and entertaining, but you are not showing the real drama.

The world of competitive eating is being taken over by women, WHICH IS A DAMN GOOD THING!

These women have earned their own title and I believe they earn the same airtime.

Tell the Williams sisters you are only going to show highlights of their matches.

I dare ya!

Maybe the problem is you aren't seeing the opportunity I see, and it's as simple as ABC.

When was the last time the ABC network had the Super Bowl?

The World Series?

The Stanley Cup Finals?

Google, it's been a minute if ever.

The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Championships are the competitive eating Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, World Series and Wimbledon all wrapped into one.

It's why a lot of competitive eaters started eating competitively.

ABC is a national network with more viewers, which means you can make a bigger show of it.

Throw in a half time show between the Men's and Women's contests to bring more viewers.

This would put all of the other networks who are showing concerts and fireworks to shame.

Competitive eating is indeed a sport and it deserves just as much respect as all other sports.

Thank you.

Tracy Goode

So what do you say, ESPN? We'd be more than happy to run your response here on the Rake & Herald. So, if you're up for it, please email us. Cheers indeedy.

See also A sock full of jam?, posted 21/11/13, and Sixty-nine bloody hot dogs!!!, posted 6/7/13.


1) Notice how we kept Mmm Mmm's American spelling of the word. Normally, we'd have changed it to the British 'honour' in line with our red coat-wearing house style rules but, given the whole July 4 context, we're letting that missing U slide. Just don't expect us to do the same in a proper game of Scrabble, mind.

2) See above. Math? Don't you mean 'maths'?

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