Longtime sports broadcaster and sportswriter Lesley Visser will become the first woman to receive the Emmys' Sports Lifetime Achievement Award during the 41st annual Sports Emmy Awards in April, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Wednesday.
Visser has spent the past 30 years at CBS as part of a 45-year sports journalism career in which she has been enshrined in six halls of fame, including being the first woman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. She is also the only sportscaster to work on network broadcasts for the Final Four, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the Olympics, the World Series, the Triple Crown, the World Figure Skating Championship and tennis' US Open.
"For 45 years Lesley Visser has been a leader and trailblazer in both print and television journalism," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. "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."
Visser began her career at the Boston Globe in 1974, working under sports editor Vince Doria. She was elected to the Sportswriters Hall of Fame for her work at the newspaper, in magazines and for CBS.com and the Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame for her work at CBS, ABC, ESPN and HBO.
"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,'" said Doria, who worked at ESPN from 1992 to 2015, in a statement. "While Lesley is a pioneer in every respect, gender has nothing to do with the fact that she's just a damn good reporter."
Among her accolades, Visser was voted the best female sportscaster of all time by the National Sportscasters of America.
The Sports Emmy Awards ceremony will be held April 28 at Lincoln Center in New York City.