A joke from 2004’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is finally becoming reality. That film features a dodgeball tournament televised on “ESPN8: The Ocho,” which has the channel mantra of “Bringing you the Finest in Seldom Seen Sports.” ESPN is actually going to have an eighth linear channel (counting their conference networks) once the ACC Network fully launches in 2019, so we’ve already made Ocho jokes, but the company itself has made even a better one. On August 8, 8/8, ESPNU will turn into “The Ocho” for one day only, and show a bunch of weird sports, from ultimate trampoline dodgeball to roller derby to cornhole to kabaddi to ultimate frisbee. Here’s the short “special presentation” trailer they came up with:
2016 Sky Zone Ultimate Trampoline Dodgeball: Traditional dodgeball with the added element of players using trampolines during play.
…2016 Kabaddi World Cup Final: A contact team sport that originated in India involving two teams and unique rule. The goal is for each team’s “raider” to tag as many of the opposing team’s players as possible and return to his/her home half all while taking just a single breath.
…Moxie Games: An uncanny, new and amazing event which combines a variety of sports into one, such as dodgeball and juggling, martial arts and volleyball, and table tennis and soccer.
This isn’t a high programming cost for ESPN, as everything but the Moxie Games has previously aired on one platform or another of theirs. But combining all of this for a day of seldom-seen sports, and embracing the “Ocho” branding, feels like a fun move, and one that should certainly get more attention than ESPNU regularly does on a Tuesday in August. We’ve also seen them previously find great success with some of these oddball sports, such as cornhole. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton; we’ll see how it works out for them. The full list of programming is available here.