Multi-year extension for Bob Ley comes on heels of standout FIFA coverage

Dick Vitale and Bob Ley on ESPN’s College Basketball Report in the early 1980s.

Dick Vitale and Bob Ley on ESPN's College Basketball Report in the early 1980's

Editor’s Note: With today’s breaking news of FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s resignation, ESPN is once again offering blanket coverage of the stunning developments all day on SportsCenter and Below is a glimpse into last week’s incredible work on the topic.


What is this notion of time? – Sepp Blatter, resigning FIFA President on Friday

Possibly the only thing Outside the Lines’ Bob Ley– and recently signed to a multi-year extension – will ever agree with Sepp Blatter on is that question, posed by the soon-to-be-former FIFA President (he announced today he will be resigning).

Time was barely a notion for Ley – not to mention ESPN reporters Jeremy Schaap, Gab Marcotti, ABC’s Kendis Gibson and the ESPN News team that gave blanket FIFA scandal coverage from early Wednesday morning on SportsCenter through the weekend. (Producer Jim Witalka took an unexpected trip to Zurich with little notice, so the news desk could have at least one of ESPN’s own producers on the ground.)

Ley was at the center of it all, anchoring both within SportsCenter blocks and during extended and regular versions of OTL and appearing on other on- and off-network shows (Olbermann, “The Rich Eisen Show”).

Critics hail ESPN’s FIFA news coverage

Outside The Lines host Bob Ley, ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap and the network’s overall treatment of the developing FIFA news stories last week drew strong praise from various media critics.

Ley’s 4:30 a.m. ET Friday wake-up call was in anticipation of a vote taking place sometime before the first, scheduled, live hour of ESPN (9 a.m.). Ley was prepared to break in with pertinent developments from 6 a.m. Instead, the election was drawn out until after 2 p.m. on Friday.

Ley first appeared in the anchor chair with breaking news SportsCenter on Wednesday at 9:01 a.m. ET with anchors Jaymee Sire and Kevin Negandhi tossing to Ley from across Studio X.

“An absolutely stunning development approximately nine hours ago,” Ley said.

As the stunning developments continued over the course of the next 50-plus hours, Ley live-anchored 293 minutes* (4 hours, 53 minutes). During a “normal” week of OTL anchoring, Ley would be on air for approximately 155 minutes (2 hours, 35 minutes).

The tally includes:

• Two 48-minute live-anchoring stints (Wednesday’s hourlong afternoon edition of OTL; Thursday’s hourlong primetime special)

• By day, Ley live-anchored 76 minutes on Wednesday; 48 minutes on Thursday; 169 minutes on Friday.

• Friday had seven Ley-anchored, double-digit minute segments, including 38, 24 and 25-minute stretches as the vote unfolded and concession was delivered by Prince Ali.

• Following the paper “rip heard ’round the nation,” Ley trended for most of the U.S. workday.

*Live minutes that Ley was anchoring, minus his time on set for 25 minutes of candidate speeches (Friday). This does not include commercials nor does it include appearances on other shows (six minutes on Friday’s Olbermann with Adnan Virk, for instance).

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