Competitive Eating

Crif Dog Classic 2012: Why This Competition Can't Compare to Nathan's

NEW YORK - JULY 4: Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California walks on stage holding his old champion belt as the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest begins on July 4, 2009 in Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Chestnut defeated Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan with eating 68 to his 64.5 hotdogs. Kobayashi won six previous competitions before tying last year with Chestnut. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova/Getty Images
Mike MoraitisAnalyst IJuly 4, 2012

The 2012 Crif Dogs Classic will take place in Brooklyn, New York on July 4 for its inaugural event and despite Takeru Kobayashi being the main draw of this contest, it still doesn't compare to Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Before 2010, Kobayashi was the biggest name in competitive eating and for lack of a better term, put the proverbial butts in the seats with his incredible ability to scarf down hot dogs, all of this on national television.

But come 2010, Kobayashi and his people decided not to sign the exclusive contract that forced the champion eater to compete in only league sanctioned events, much like all major competitors must sign, according to Josiah Schlatter of NBCSports.com.

So as a result, per the same report, Nathan's booted Kobayashi from the competition, thus forcing him to compete in the lesser competition.

So why is the Crif Dog Classic inferior?

Well, for starters, it doesn't have the same national exposure that Nathan's does, nor the money to back it.

Being that Nathan's is on ESPN, far more people are able to tune in to watch it. On the flip side, the Crif Dogs Classic is being streamed live on SI.com, so clearly it isn't as widely viewed as Nathan's which is on national television.

Not to mention, Nathan's is a giant in the food industry and simply has more resources to promote and put on a better event than its Independence Day rival.

Schlatter's report also points out that records are made and broken in Coney Island and no place else, despite the claims that Kobayashi has surpassed record-holder Joey Chestnut's 68-dog count with a 69-dog count of his own.

When told of Kobi’s claim of eating 69 hot dogs, Major League Eating president George Shea sneered, “The champion of the world is crowned in Coney Island. Always has been, always will be. He put a tin crown on his head and called himself king.”

The level of competition just simply isn't the same either.

Some of the greatest eaters on the planet, namely Joey Chestnut and Tim Janus compete at Nathan's and are some of the fiercest competition in the sport. While Kobayashi has to deal with the West Coast hot dog champ, Tom Gilbert, he doesn't have nearly the same stiff competition in Brooklyn as he would in Coney Island.

The best of the best come to play at Coney Island every Fourth of July and while there are imitators, there is simply nothing like Nathan's Hot Dog Eating competition. Crif Dogs can only hope to build the following that Nathan's has in the future in order to add more prominence to their newer competition.

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