“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, Sports Emmy Awards. “Lesley has spent her career serving as an unparalleled role model and mentor to countless up-and-coming journalists including myself. Her generous spirit, breadth and depth of knowledge, and professionalism shine in our industry and the National Academy could not be more thrilled to honor Lesley with our Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports.”
Visser already boasts several major honors, including the first woman enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as being named to the Sportswriters Hall of Fame and the Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She also won the Billie Jean King “Outstanding Journalist Award,” and named the first female “Lombardi Fellow,” as well as the Newseum Award for Lifetime Achievement, first given to Walter Cronkite.
Visser’s 45-year career includes work at ABC, ESPN and HBO, and is now in her 30th year at CBS. Visser is the only sportscaster to have worked on 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 US Open Tennis.
“For 45 years Lesley Visser has been a leader and trailblazer in both print and television journalism,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, 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. From first working in press boxes with a credential that read, ‘No women or children,’ to becoming the first woman assigned to work ‘Monday Night Football,’ and to being the first woman enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there is no one more deserving to be honored as the first woman to receive the Sports Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.”
Added Vince Doria, former Sports Editor, Boston Globe and former Vice President and Director of News at ESPN: “When you look at Lesley Visser’s resume which is a long list of accomplishments, where almost everyone begins with ‘the first woman,’ the phrase that comes to mind for me is ‘one of the best damn journalists I have ever worked with. While Lesley is a pioneer in every respect, gender has nothing to do with the fact that she’s just a damn good reporter.”
The 41st Annual Sports Emmy Awards will presented in more than 40 categories, and held in New York City at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall on Tuesday, April 28.