If you were an adolescent male, knew an adolescent male or were just deeply invested in Vince Vaughn’s buddy-comedy reign in the early 2000s, then you’re likely familiar with Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Competing against a more profane version of Ben Stiller’s character from Heavyweights, Vaughn leads a team of lovable losers in a dodgeball tournament that is nationally televised on “The Ocho,” a made-up ESPN network. Now, almost 15 years after the movie was released, ESPN is bringing the fictional network to life by transforming ESPN2 into The Ocho for 24 hours.
For today, Aug. 8, only, ESPN is showcasing a slew of bizarre sports under the Dodgeball-inspired moniker, including spikeball, chessboxing, roller derby, sumo wrestling, competitive eating—”Put me in, Coach!”—and, of course, dodgeball. Intrigued? Confounded? Either way, ESPN has even created an animated infographic outlining all the scheduled sporting events, available here. The day’s programming also includes not one, but two screenings of the 2004 comedy, just in case you’ve forgotten any of the plot minutia during the 30-to-40 times you’ve watched half of it on Comedy Central in the middle of the afternoon.
The network is admittedly seeking quantity of oddball sports over lengthy segments: “We have to go to shorter windows and get things moving through the course of events [to] give people a wider variety of things to talk about and enjoy,” said programming director Brent Colborne. In other words, there’s a reason Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is once a year, and ESPN knows it, so get in on the action while it lasts.
ESPN devised the advertising stunt in partnership with one of America’s other favorite acronyms, KFC. According to Variety, viewers can expect entire ad campaigns devoted to athletes competing while wearing KFC chicken buckets over their eyes. Talk about a bold strategy, Cotton.
No word yet on if Pepper Brooks and Cotton McKnight are reporting for The Ocho, but tune in to ESPN2 to catch all of today’s cornhole coverage.