Pioneering sportscaster Lesley Visser will make history in the spring when she becomes the first woman to receive the Sports Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sports Emmy Awards.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said today that she will be honored at the 41st annual ceremony on April 28 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in Manhattan.
“To be a pioneer at nearly every juncture of sports reporting isn’t easy despite how Lesley Visser makes it look,” said Justine Gubar, Executive Director of the Sports Emmy Awards. “Lesley has spent her career serving as an unparalleled role model and mentor to countless up-and-coming journalists including myself.”
Voted the No. 1 Female Sportscaster of All Time by the National Sportscasters of America, Visser is a member of six halls of fame. She was the first woman inducted into the NFL’s shrine and the first to cover the league as a beat. Her 45-year career of “firsts” also includes breaking the gender barriers for NFL sideline reporters, reporting for Monday Night Football, covering the World Series and covering the NBA for a network.
Early in her career, she worked in press boxes with a credential that read, “No women or children.”
Visser is the only sportscaster — male or female — to have worked on network broadcasts of the Final Four, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the Olympics, the World Series, the Triple Crown, the World Figure Skating Championship and the US Open Tennis.
Visser joined CBS Sports in 1983 and went full-time four years later. After the Eye network lost NFL TV rights in 1993, she moved to ABC and ESPN. She rejoined CBS Sports in 2000 and has remained there since — 30 years and counting.
“For 45 years Lesley Visser has been a leader and trailblazer in both print and television journalism,” said Sean McManus, Chairman of CBS Sports. “Very few people have had the word ‘first’ attached to them throughout their career as much as Lesley, and even fewer have created a place in an industry that never existed. … There is no one more deserving to be honored as the first woman to receive the Sports Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.”