Four participants took to their seats at 11 a.m. on Jan. 1 to see who can watch the most continuous hours of televised sports at ESPN Zone in Times Square. All they have to do is lean back in a comfy recliner facing a wall of HD TV's, all showing non-stop sports programming, and order all the free food and non-alcohol drinks they want until they can't take it anymore.
The winner receives a grand prize package worth more than $4,000, including a $1,000 gift card for a brand new TV, a high-tech recliner and free cable or satellite service for a year.
Sounds easy, huh? Not exactly.
Participants aren't allowed to sleep – not even for a minute – or leave their chair. They can only go to the bathroom during designated breaks every eight hours. Last year, defending champ Stan Friedman waited out his opponents and won after being a couch potato for 19 hours and 48 minutes. The year before he had stiffer competition and ended up lasting 29 hours. Yeesh. How will he fare in 2010?
Friedman takes some inspiration from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"It's kind of the third term of couch potato," the defending champ told the Daily News. "I know how much to drink, when to recline. Hopefully, I stay in the game and win for the third time."
Among Friedman's challengers are John Scheer and his wife, Kendra. Last year, John only made it for five hours because he had to go to the bathroom so badly. Now he wants revenge.
"It was awful – last year was a big disappointment," Scheer told the News. "I at least want to make it the eight-hour break."
Kendra Scheer isn't sure how long she'll last, but she does expect to beat her husband,
"We're pretty competitive with each other," she told the News. "He better make it to the first break or there will be a dark cloud of shame that follows him forever."