The last five years have seen ESPN conduct regular “The Ocho” days. Those have seen them turn one of their tertiary channels (mostly ESPN2, but also ESPNU at first) into the “ESPN8: Seldom Seen Sports” joke from Dodgeball for one day each year. (Never mind that ESPN has actually had eight cable networks since the 2019 launch of ACC Network: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, SEC Network, ACC Network, and Longhorn Network; this is a different version of “The Ocho” for them.)
Those Ocho days have led to plenty of highlights, from lightsaber fights to trampoline dodgeball. (A graphic from one last year is seen at top.) And ESPN has now announced the details for the sixth-annual “The Ocho” event, which will see ESPN2 promote “seldom seen sports” for 24 hours on Friday, Aug. 5. Here’s more from a release:
ESPN8: The Ocho takes over ESPN2 for 24 hours on Friday, Aug. 5, becoming the No. 1 destination for “seldom seen sports.” The latest in the evolution of The Ocho includes 14.5 hours of live events from two venues in Rock Hill, SC – The Rock Hill Sports & Event Center and Manchester Meadows. A BOLD strategy indeed, Cotton. The day in South Carolina begins at 8 a.m. ET with the Turf Wars Kickball Invitational and concludes with the US Air Guitar All-Star Air-off at 9 p.m.
Other events taking place in Rock Hill include:
World Axe Throwing League
AWA Wiffle Ball
2022 Bullshooter Invitational Shootout
2022 Pro Breaking Tour Invitational
Pogopalooza Cup 2022
USA Dodgeball All-Star Showcase
The American Cornhole League (ACL) will host its SuperHole III event at The Rock Hill Sports & Event Center. The quarterfinals will air at 4 p.m. and the finals will air at 8 p.m. The SuperHole event pairs a celebrity with an ACL pro for the competition. Celebrities set to participate include: Jay Cutler, Doug Flutie, Terry Kirby, Ben Rector, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Dawn Staley, Chris Weidman and ESPN and SEC Network’s own Marty Smith.
Smith and co-host Ryan McGee will also anchor a one-hour special The Ocho Show live from inside The Rock Hill Sports & Event Center at 2 p.m.
It makes sense to have Smith and McGee involved, as they’ve long promoted some obscure sports on their various ESPN platforms. And cornhole in particular has long been a favorite of ESPN, and it’s interesting to see everyone from Cutler to Staley involved with that. It’s also interesting to see so much Ocho programming live from one city and two locations; in the past, a lot of the programming on this day has been pre-taped from areas around the country. And while there’s still some pre-taped programming in the mix here, this is more of a conventional sports setup than some of what we’ve seen before, albeit with a much more significant variety of sports.
We’ll see how this particular Ocho programming lineup works out for ESPN. But there isn’t exactly a ton of strong sports competition on Aug. 5, so this will certainly do at least some ratings. And we’ll see if that’s enough to set up a seventh annual “Ocho Day” next year.