Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest prize money: How much will the winner make in 2021?

Getting paid to eat hot dogs? Doesn’t sound so bad. 

Well, that is until you find out how many it will take to get the win. Last year, men’s champion Joey Chestnut ate 75 hot dogs and buns to capture his fifth consecutive Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest title while women’s champion Miki Sudo ate 48.5 to win her seventh in a row. 

Sudo won’t be competing in the women’s competition this year, but Chestnut is back as the heavy favorite to repeat and take home another men’s Mustard Belt. The winner of the women’s Mustard Belt is much more of a question. 

MORE: Schedule, start time for 2021 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

But while taking home a belt is nice, leaving with a check is even better. The winners — and each of the top five finishers — will take home money in the annual July 4 contest. 

Below is all you need to know about the prize money for the 2021 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest prize money

Major League Eating has typically given winners in the men’s and women’s competition a top prize of $10,000 each, with incrementally smaller prizes going to the remaining eaters in the top five.

The total prize pool is $40,000. Here is how the purse has traditionally broken down: 

  • First place: $10,000
  • Second place: $5,000
  • Third place: $2,500
  • Fourth place: $1,500
  • Fifth place: $1,000

This year, 17 men and 13 women will compete in the event. World No. 9-ranked eater Michelle Lesko — the second highest-ranked woman behind Sudo — will be the favorite to win the women’s belt. Chestnut is, of course, considered very likely to repeat as the men’s winner. 

What is Joey Chestnut’s net worth?

A professional career of eating has done Chestnut well.

The 13-time winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest — not to mention countless other Major League Eating competitions — has a net worth of $2 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. According to the site, he can make between $250,000 and $500,000 per year from winning competitions and subsequent sponsorship deals. 

In addition to his winnings and sponsor money, Chestnut has his own line of condiments for hot dogs, brats, sausages, wings and sandwiches.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest past winners

Chestnut and Sudo both set MLE records in the 2020 event. Chestnut took down a personal-best 75 hot dogs and buns to extend his men’s mark while Sudo finished a women’s record 48.5 hot dogs and buns to surpass Sonya Thomas, who consumed 45 in 2012.

Chestnut will be back on Coney Island in 2021 to try to win for the sixth consecutive year. Sudo is taking the year off as she is expecting the birth of her first child. 

Below are the contest winners dating to 1997.

Year Winner Hot dogs eaten Time
2020 men’s Joey Chestnut 75 10 mins.
2020 women’s Miki Sudo 48.5
2019 men’s Joey Chestnut 71 10 mins.
2019 women’s Miki Sudo 31
2018 men’s Joey Chestnut 74 10 mins.
2018 women’s Miki Sudo 37
2017 men’s Joey Chestnut 72 10 mins.
2017 women’s Miki Sudo 41
2016 men’s Joey Chestnut 70 10 mins.
2016 women’s Miki Sudo 38.5
2015 men’s Matt Stonie 62 10 mins.
2015 women’s Miki Sudo 38
2014 men’s Joey Chestnut 61 10 mins.
2014 women’s Miki Sudo 34
2013 men’s Joey Chestnut 69 10 mins.
2013 women’s Sonya Thomas 36.75
2012 men’s Joey Chestnut 68 10 mins.
2012 women’s Sonya Thomas 45
2011 men’s Joey Chestnut 62 10 mins.
2011 women’s Sonya Thomas 40
2010 Joey Chestnut 54 10 mins.
2009 Joey Chestnut 68 10 mins.
2008 Joey Chestnut 59 10 mins.
2007 Joey Chestnut 66 12 mins.
2006 Takeru Kobayashi 53.75 12 mins.
2005 Takeru Kobayashi 49 12 mins.
2004 Takeru Kobayashi 53.5 12 mins.
2003 Takeru Kobayashi 44.5 12 mins.
2002 Takeru Kobayashi 50.5 12 mins.
2001 Takeru Kobayashi 50 12 mins
2000 Kazutoyo Arai 25 12 mins.
1999 Steve Keiner 21.5 12 mins.
1998 Hirofumi Nakajima 19 12 mins.
1997 Hirofumi Nakajima 24.5 12 mins.

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