by Eddie Goldman
Every year ESPN does what it calls the "ESPN8: The Ocho stunt". ESPN shows "seldom seen sports", meaning mainly humorous events like Acrobatic Pizza Trials, Cherry Pit Spitting, Stupid Robot Fighting League, and Sign Spinning. Some seem like real folk events, like the Highland Games. This year "The Ocho" will take place on Aug. 7, another joke because it used to be on Aug. 8, 8/8.
But one of the events listed was an actual attempt at creating an international professional sumo league, the World Sumo Challenge. This event was originally held on Oct. 22, 2005, at Madison Square Garden, which I covered live. It had over 8000 fans in attendance and was shown in December on tape-delay on ESPN2. However, the plans for an international tour in 2006 fell apart midway through that tour, and attempts at reviving it since have been unsuccessful.
For this year's "The Ocho", the World Sumo Challenge will be "available on demand, now through the end of August", according to the ESPN press release about "The Ocho".
In response to a question about this, an ESPN publicist emailed me to clarify how to watch it: "As far as where it is available, you should be able to access in it the ESPN APP and then you should also be able to find it via your service provider's On Demand feature."
The World Sumo Challenge got plenty of mainstream media coverage. A short recap of it can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmv4xm8d72w.
Here is the ESPN press release on this year's "The Ocho":
ESPN8: The Ocho Returns for Third Year on Wednesday, Aug. 7. . .Yes, the SEVENTH https://espnpressroom.com/us/press-releases/2019/07/espn8-the-ocho-returns-for-third-year-on-wednesday-aug-7-yes-the-seventh/