Bob Ley cannot boast of being with ESPN since it went on the air in 1979. No, he joined as a SportsCenter anchor three days later. Now the Worldwide Leader’s longest-serving on-air personality has inked a long-term contract to stay with the network. He’ll continue to host the Sports Emmy-winning nightly series Outside The Lines, as he has for its entire 25-year run. The New Jersey native also will continue working ESPN’s soccer coverage. Last week he anchored ESPN’s daylong coverage of the FIFA indictments and the group’s subsequent re-election of Sepp Blatter as its president. On Friday, a frustrated Ley ripped up a FIFA press release on-air, earning a day in the GIF spotlight.
Ley was one of the sports giant’s go-to guys in its first decade, hosting its NFL Draft coverage and NCAA basketball studio show. He also worked on ESPN’s coverage of many sports moments that crossed into the mainstream news, including Pete Rose’s banishment from baseball in 1989 and Magic Johnson’s AIDS announcement two years later.
“I’m very fortunate, each day, to continue to find the challenge in the stories and issues in our sporting culture, and equally lucky to have the time and the space to examine them, working with the most creative and dedicated staff in the business,” Ley said. “Between our reporting and analysis on Outside The Lines, and the opportunities with our soccer coverage across the planet, I’m looking forward to our best work yet.”