For the uninitiated, the idea for ESPN8 "The Ocho" (a platform for obscure sports programming likd disc golf and kabbadi) comes from the 2004 comedy "DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story" starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. In the movie, the fictitious cable channel airs competitive dodgeball with sideline commentary from Cotton McKnight (Gary Cole) and Pepper Brooks (Jason Bateman).
While the idea of an eighth channel of ESPN programming seemed a bit ridiculous back in 2004, we're not too far off now, with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, the ESPN app and ESPN The Magazine all existing on cable or elsewhere.
ESPN first ran ESPN8 "The Ocho" last year on ESPNU. This year, the home of some seldom-seen sports moves to ESPN2 and has KFC's backing.
This year, the somewhat ridiculous event has a title even longer than the movie it stems from: ESPN8 "The Ocho" Presented by KFC Battle of the Buckets. A teaser video released Wednesday shows various pursuits being performed by athletes sporting KFC buckets over their heads.
Full details of KFC's sponsorship haven't been announced but it includes a series of vignettes running throughout the day, ESPN said Wednesday. KFC has been tying its brand into sports culture for a while now, including Rob Riggle's run in commercials as the coach of the mock professional football team the Kentucky Buckets and tie-ins to WWE including a video that saw Colonel Sanders battle the Puppers Cluckers Chicken for title of World's Chicken Sandwich Champion.
Back to "The Ocho," given the genesis of the day, a few events set to be aired are not really surprises: along with two showings of "DodgeBall" at midnightand 10 p.m. EDT, the lineup includes the SkyZone Ultimate Dodgeball Championship and the 2018 Dodgeball World Cup. Other competitions include spikeball, cornhole, competitive eating of brats and burgers from 2006, ping pong, hurling, darts, light-saber combat, women's flat track roller derby and something called chess boxing.
The day's programming, minus the movie, will be available on demand on the ESPN app, with supporting content available across ESPN platforms including ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine and the ESPN flagship and ESPN Front Row Social handles.