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ESPN's 'The Ocho' returns with stone skipping, sign spinning and marble racing

The network revived the obscure sports channel, an homage to the fictional channel from the 2004 movie "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."
Image: Ben Stiller in \"Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.\"
Ben Stiller in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."20th Century Fox / via Everett Collection

As most sports have been canceled and postponed during the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN revived "The Ocho" on Sunday.

"The Ocho" began in 2017 as an homage to the fictional ESPN 8 channel featured in the 2004 movie "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story." The network transforms its ESPN 2 channel to air a slew of real but obscure competitions for 24 hours.

Although "The Ocho" usually airs in August, ESPN said it was reviving the special programming using past events just "when you needed it most," according to its news release.

"That is the magic of ESPN8: The Ocho," the release said.

Some of the riveting programming included an electricians' competition, a stone skipping championship and a sign spinning contest.

Viewers who have spent the last several days following the advice of medical experts by staying home and social distancing seemed very invested in the return of ESPN 8's strange competitions, if Twitter was any indication.

ESPN took the bull by the horns in reviving "The Ocho," and as sportscasting legend Pepper Books might say, it's a bold strategy.