Unfinished Beef: Netflix Sets Live Labor Day Hot Dog Eating Bout Between Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi

Netflix is officially getting into the competitive eating business.

The streaming giant says that it will host a live streaming event on Labor Day, Sep. 2, featuring two legends of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi.

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The live special will be called Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef, with the location and specific timing still TBD. One thing that Netflix has confirmed: The hot dogs will be all-beef.

The two competitive eaters battled each other for years in the annual Nathan’s contest, but the last time they competed head to head was in 2009, when Chestnut beat Kobayashi in a five hot dog sudden death eat-off.

Chestnut is a 16-time Nathan’s winner (including the last eight years), but was not allowed to participate this year after inking a sponsorship agreement with Impossible Foods, which recently released a plant-based dog. His absence from the event could have an impact on the ratings, with the July 4 competition exclusive to ESPN through 2029.

Chestnut holds the record for most hot dogs consumed in 10 minutes with 76.

“Through all of my years in competitive eating, Kobayashi stands out as my fiercest rival,” said Chestnut in a statement. “Competing against him pushed me to be so much better.  I know that fans have waited a long time for another chapter of our rivalry and I can’t wait for our massive showdown live on Netflix! It’s time to give the people what they want!”

Kobayashi is a six-time Nathan’s winner, who was arguably the first competitive eater to become an international celebrity, beginning with the 2001 contest in which he consumed 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes. He would go on to have a contract dispute with Major League Eating, which prevented him from returning to the competition.

He was also the subject of a recent Netflix documentary Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut, in which he revealed he planned to retire from competitive eating.

“I hear people say they’re hungry, and they look very happy after they’ve eaten,” he said of his retirement. “I’m jealous of those people because I no longer feel hunger.”

Now, however, Netflix has coaxed him out of retirement for one last frank-eating challenge.

“Retiring for me will only happen after I take him down one last time,” Kobayashi said. “This rivalry has been brewing for a long time. Competing against Joey live on Netflix means fans all over the world can watch me knock him out.”

Unfinished Beef is just the latest live event that Netflix has, uh, cooked up in a bid for streaming supremacy. In November, Netflix will stream a live boxing match between Jake Paul and Mike Tyson; and in December, it will stream two NFL games in a blockbuster deal with the league.

Hot dog eating might not be boxing or football, but the big names at the top of the card may be enough to lure Americans away from their end-of-summer barbecues, at last for a little while.

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