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ESPN picks perfect day to give Bob Ley a long-term contract extension


Bob Ley has signed a long-term extension deal to remain with ESPN, as announced by the company this afternoon. Ley has been with the network since September 1979, and is the longest working broadcaster within ESPN since joining SportsCenter on the show’s third day.

“I am thrilled that Bob Ley will continue at ESPN — for the past 35 years he has set the standard for sports journalism and we and fans have been the beneficiary,” said ESPN President John Skipper.

Alongside the occasional SportsCenter specials Ley hosts the Emmy Award winning series Outside the Lines, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. He recently hosted ESPN’s 2014 World Cup coverage in Brazil and will continue his duties as one of ESPN’s major soccer pundits. Under this new deal he will become the primary host of ESPN’s future soccer coverage which includes Euro qualifiers, Euros 2016, World Cup coverage and certain U.S. Men’s National Team games.

“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.

This news comes days after Ley was praised by large sections of the soccer community for his coverage on the FIFA inditement and re-election of former president Sepp Blatter. Ley has recently been featured on many different sections of ESPN’s programming when speaking about Blatter and the FIFA scandals, and received wide-spread attention when be became uncharacteristically emotional and upset after Blatter’s reelection.

“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,” said Ley.

While the news was unexpected the content of the news was not, in the last month Ley has played a crucial part in ESPN’s coverage of the various FIFA scandals beginning with the release of Outside the Line’s extensive reporting on the inner-workings of FIFA and exploring the bribes and illegal activities that went on before awarding Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids respectively.

Since the Department of Justice indictment of various high ranking FIFA officials was released, Ley has appeared on various network segments talking about how FIFA operates and has been working hard to describe the depth of collusion happening within the sport’s world’s largest body of government.

He is well respected throughout almost every sports community, a title that not many sports anchors share and has won admiration from a tough and largely picky group, American soccer fans.

Despite not retaining the broadcasting rights for any of the World Cups through 2026, the signing of Ley almost guarantees the network a viewing audience during the global tournaments as many soccer fans in the United States have been outspoken about their uncertainty around FOX Sports’ soccer coverage. ESPN has gained favor with a large part of the soccer community in recent events, and keeping Ley helps cement that role.


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  1. Bobbster

    June 2, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Is there a separate deal for his rug ?

    • BD

      June 3, 2015 at 9:11 am

      How do you think he got the extension?

  2. EDub

    June 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I love this dude – he was so critical during the FIFA congress meeting. I’m sure he’s ecstatic about the Blatter news …

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