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Robert A. Ley[1] (/ˈl/; born March 16, 1955) is an American sports anchor and reporter, best known for his work at ESPN. A multiple Emmy Award-winner, he was the longest-tenured on-air employee of the network, having joined ESPN just three days after the network's 1979 launch[2] and retiring from the network effective at the end of June 2019.

Bob Ley
Bob Ley.jpg
Ley in March 2010
Born (1955-03-16) March 16, 1955 (age 64)
EducationSeton Hall University, (1976)
B.A. Communications
EmployerESPN (1979–2019)
Known forOutside the Lines host, SportsCenter anchor, soccer broadcaster
Spouse(s)Barbara Ley


Early life and educationEdit

Ley grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where he attended Bloomfield High School.[3][4] He got his start in broadcasting as a sportscaster and program director at WSOU at Seton Hall University, and interned as a production staffer at WOR-AM in New York City. After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, Ley worked several minor broadcasting jobs, including public address announcer with the New York Cosmos soccer team, before landing his first major position with ESPN just three days after the network's launch in 1979.[2]


Ley joined ESPN on September 9, 1979. In 1980, he hosted the first televised NCAA Selection Show, though the airing would switch to CBS two years later.[5] Starting in 1990, Ley hosted ESPN's investigative program Outside the Lines. He hosted SportsCenter for much of his career at ESPN, and on August 9, 2004, he hosted an "old school" edition with longtime broadcasting partner Charley Steiner.

Ley was the primary studio host for ESPN's telecasts of major international professional soccer tournaments, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup,[6] the 2012 UEFA European Championship [7] and the 2016 UEFA European Championship. During the Night of 1000 Stars,'s Men in Blazers, Michael Davies and Rog Bennett, presented Ley with the first Men In Blazers Golden Blazer[8] for lifetime services to American soccer.[9] During the presentation of the Golden Blazer, the Men in Blazers showed footage of Ley's anchoring of SportsCenter and presenting highlights of the United States men's national soccer team qualifying for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. It was the first time the USMNT qualified for the FIFA World Cup since 1950.

On September 7, 2014, in recognition of ESPN's 35th anniversary as a cable network, he was honored as one of 19 "ESPN Originals", employees who have been with the network from the beginning.[citation needed] Ley took an indefinite sabbatical from his ESPN hosting duties starting on October 1, 2018.[10] On June 26, 2019, Ley announced his retirement from ESPN, effective at the end of the month.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Ley is married with two children.[12] He serves on the board of regents for Seton Hall University.[1]



  1. ^ a b "Board of Regents 2015-16" (PDF). Fact Book 2015-16. Seton Hall University. p. 11. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Bob Ley signs with Octagon,; accessed May 8, 2015. Archived December 26, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Sandomir, Richard. "TV SPORTS; Disney Making a Commitment to Complete Soccer Coverage", The New York Times, June 7, 1998; accessed December 25, 2007. "The American games are important, said Ley, who became a soccer enthusiast when he attended Bloomfield High School in New Jersey during the North American Soccer League's heyday."
  4. ^ Orr, Conor. "Bloomfield native Bob Ley will be the face of the World Cup for ESPN", The Star-Ledger, June 9, 2010; accessed July 18, 2011. "Unfortunately for Bob Ley, he was the first of the two team managers to show up at Bloomfield High's soccer practice on that fall afternoon in 1971. His best friend and co-manager Bob Longo disagrees on the circumstances, but remembers vividly the sight of the future ESPN anchor in a compromising position after the team's players stuffed Ley into the wire equipment cart and rolled him straight into the pond near the field."
  5. ^ Quindt, Fritz (March 11, 2002). "A cease-fire in the bracket wars". Sporting News. Retrieved July 18, 2011. In 1980, Bob Ley hosted the first selection show ever. It was on ESPN... Upon getting the 1982 Tournament, CBS was handed the List of 64 and guarded it like a final Survivor vote.
  6. ^ "Reflections on NFL, ESPN, and The New York Giants". Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  7. ^ "ESPN's Studio Team for UEFA EURO 2012 - ESPN MediaZone". June 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Men in Blazers Night of 1000 Stars,; accessed June 28, 2015.
  9. ^ Network, Grantland (September 18, 2013). "Men in Blazers: Special Live Edition with Bob Ley". Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Bob Ley on Twitter". Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  11. ^ "Bob Ley retires after 40 years as ESPN anchor". ESPN. June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  12. ^ " - Page2 - Bob Ley". Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  13. ^ Golden Blazer of Fame for services to soccer in the United States
  14. ^ "ESPN Leads With 10 Sports Emmy Awards - ESPN MediaZone U.S." Retrieved June 23, 2018.

External linksEdit