ESPN2 Will Transform Into 'ESPN8: The Ocho' Amid Widespread Sports Shutdowns

With COVID-19 concerns bringing a halt to sports all over the world, ESPN is stepping in and attempting to fill the void. Airing previous iterations of WrestleMania will be one example, but the sports channel will also be transforming on Sunday, March 22. Starting at midnight, ESPN2 will once again become ESPN8: The Ocho.

The decision was announced in a press release on Thursday and included a list of some of the various events that will be featured. The 24-hour block of ESPN8 will begin with the Johnsonville ACL Cornhole Championships: 2020 Kickoff Battle and will end with the Moxie Games 3. Between these events will be an assortment of unique sports that rely on different skill sets. There will even be a cherry pit spitting competition.

According to the press release, this is actually the fourth time that ESPN2 has transformed into The Ocho. The first instance took place in 2017. Although the actual initiative was inspired by the 2004 film, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Tale, which starred Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, and Vince Vaughn. ESPN8: The Ocho was the channel that aired the dodgeball tournament in the film.

There are several unique events that will be featured on Sunday, including sign-spinning and marble racing. Dodgeball and arm wrestling will also be included as more recognizable competitions. Some of these events are self-explanatory while ESPN provided descriptions for some lesser-known examples.

  • Stupid Robot Fighting League: Created in New Zealand by John Espin (Yes, that is his actual name.), Stupid Robot Fighting is a rather unique form of fighting that pits two life-sized hanging puppets controlled by an operator sitting behind each Stupid Robot.
  • 2019 Jelle's Marble Runs: Races in which both participants and spectators are marbles.
  • Cherry Pit Spitting: The 46th Annual Cherry Pit-Spitting Competition is held each year in Eau Claire, Mich., with one goal for competitors—to spit the farthest cherry pit.
  • Sign Spinning: The 12th Annual World Sign Spinning Championship, held in Las Vegas, brought together AArrow Sign Spinners from more than 50 cities and a dozen countries to asses style, execution, and technical sign spinning ability.
  • 2007 World Sport Stacking Championships: Sport stacking can be an individual or team sport where participants stack specially designed cups in predetermined sequences as fast as possible.
  • 2019 Death Diving World Championship: An amateur diving sport performed from a 10m platform with separate competitions for Classic and Freestyle.

With concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, there is a distinct lack of sporting events shown on television. ESPN recognizes this issue and wants to provide some assistance for the viewers. Watching the 2006 Krystal World Hamburger Eating Championship may not exactly fill the void left by March Madness being canceled, but it will provide some entertainment on Sunday.


Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox