Lesley Visser is the most highly acclaimed female sportscaster of all time. Across numerous accolades, she has been the “first” – the first woman enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame; the first woman to win the Lifetime Achievement Sports Emmy and the first woman to win the Broadcasters Foundation of America Lifetime Achievement Award; the first woman on the Network broadcasts of the Final Four, the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl and the World Series. She is the first and only woman to have presented the Championship Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl. She was the first woman to cover the NFL as a beat, the first woman on “Monday Night Football” and the first female NFL analyst in both Radio and TV. She was the first female sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch, and the only winner of the Billie Jean King “Outstanding Journalist Award.”
Visser is the only sportscaster – male or female – to have worked on the network 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 the US Open Tennis.
Visser was voted the No. 1 Female Sportscaster of All-Time by the National Sportscasters of America. Her career began at the Boston Globe in 1974 after she won a Carnegie Foundation Grant, given to only 20 women in the country who wanted to go into jobs that were 95% male.
She was elected to the National Sports Media Hall of Fame for her writing at the Boston Globe, magazines and CBS.com, and she was voted to the Sportscasters Hall of Fame for her work at CBS, ABC, ESPN and HBO. Visser has been named a Muhammad Ali “Daughter of Greatness” and won the Newseum Award for Lifetime Achievement – first given to Walter Cronkite. She reported from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, focusing on how sports would change in East Germany after reunification, and had the privilege, in 2013, of throwing out the first pitch for her beloved Red Sox.
A graduate of Boston College, which awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in 2007, she served on the Board of the V Foundation for Cancer Research for more than 20 years, while also serving on the Board of NYU’s “Sports and Society.” Visser has mentored young women for decades, while speaking at colleges and businesses around the world – from Doha, Qatar, to Charleston, South Carolina, where she delivered an address at the Renaissance Weekend, founded by President Clinton. Her book, Sometimes You Have to Cross When It Says Don’t Walk, is a memoir of breaking barriers. It has been optioned for both a movie and a TV series.
The Hall of Fame sportscaster is in her 32nd year at CBS and her 46th in the business. She is a contributor to the only all-female network sports show, We Need To Talk, on CBS, and has a podcast, “In Conversation with Lesley Visser,” on SiriusXM. Visser has been voted one of the “Women we Love” by Esquire Magazine and one of the “Five Ideal Dinner Guests” by GQ. She and her husband, Bob Kanuth, a former captain of Harvard basketball, live in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida.