Bob Ley, ‘The Walter Cronkite of Sports Journalism’

By Brian Flood 

ESPN’s investigative sports journalism program Outside the Lines will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a primetime special on Tuesday, July 7 at 7 p.m. ET. The special will recognize Bob Ley‘s show, which has examined off-the-field events since debut on its May 7, 1990 – with Ley hosting from Day 1.

“I would like congratulate Bob Ley — and the whole team — on 25 spectacular years of OTL,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “He has established himself as nothing less than the Walter Cronkite of sports journalism, clearly the leading sports news host of the past quarter century. The range and quickness of his intellect, his ever-present curiosity and his persistent search for truth distinguish his work for ESPN and makes OTL a must watch.”

Ley joined ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor back in 1979 and recently signed a long-term extension to remain at the network. The anniversary special will feature memorable moments from the last 25 years, a discussion regarding race in sports with Mike Wilbon and a look back at the on-going coverage of the NFL’s concussion issues.


“It’s been a remarkable journey for Outside the Lines, from a monthly program 25 years ago, to a daily presence, on TV and digitally,” Ley said. “I’m so proud to work with the smartest and most creative individuals in journalism who bring OTL its edge and distinctive style. We’re all looking forward to many more years.”

Outside the Lines has won a variety of awards, including 11 Sports Emmy Awards, a duPont Award, a Gracie Award, a Peabody Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, including one in video investigative reporting – a first for a sports entry.