ESPN Will Take a Hit Thanks to Bob Ley’s Surprise Six-Month Sabbatical
The network will be without its “most important broadcaster" starting in October.
Last month, The Ringer ran a profile of longtime ESPN on-air personality Bob Ley referring to him as the network’s “most important broadcaster.”
“The network’s longest-serving anchor is the perfect figure to interpret the collision of sport and politics,” reads the subtitle of the piece about the Outside the Lines host. “And the Worldwide Leader needs him now more than ever.”
Unfortunately, though they need him, ESPN won’t have Ley for six months starting October 1.
In a surprise announcement on Twitter early Wednesday morning, Ley revealed he would be stepping away from ESPN in October so would have time to “re-charge.”
Beginning Oct. 1 I'll be taking a six-month sabbatical from my @OTLonESPN duties. The idea of stepping back to re-charge is fully 100% mine, and one I've been considering for a while. I truly appreciate the company's understanding and cooperation. -30
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) August 15, 2018
ESPN said it supported Ley’s decision and will be happy to welcome him back starting April 1.
We completely support Bob’s decision and look forward to his return April 1. In the meantime, @OTLonESPN is in great hands with @JeremySchaap, @KateFagan3, @RyanSmithtv and the award-winning production team. https://t.co/Xvd4STETeK
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) August 15, 2018
During the period Ley is away from the network, he’ll miss marquee events including the World Series, Super Bowl, and the beginning of the NBA and NHL seasons as well as the start of the NCAA tournament in March.
While Ley is gone, Jeremy Schaap, Kate Fagan, and Ryan Smith will handle his OTL duties.
If they are up to it, especially in the tenuous political climate of today which Ley was so adept at navigating, remains to be seen.
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