Bob Ley brings South Africa to Seton Hall

ESPN personality, host of Outside the Lines and graduate of Seton Hall in 1976, Bob Ley, shared his experiences covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa on Friday.

“I wanted to share all the hard work that a lot of different people have done to put this World Cup together,” Ley said. “There is a lot more than soccer.”

In preparation of covering the event, Ley took three trips to South Africa to see what everyday life was like in the country and how the country was preparing for the event. Ley noted in his presentation that the trips to the country started over a year in advance.

“It was the most challenging and rewarding professional experience I’ve ever been involved in,” Ley said. “Every day I got out and we were fortunate to see more of the country. It’s incredibly wealthy, it’s incredibly poor, It’s astonishing that it works after 16 years of democracy.”

Ley started the presentation to those in attendance by showing an exclusive video of ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup that was only given out to employees of ESPN, with clips of the stations coverage on stage, soccer matches and scenes that did not make TV.

After presenting the video, Ley showed a large series of pictures that were taken from his trips to the country. Part of the focus of the pictures was from the amount of time he spent in the city of Soweto.

In Soweto, Ley mostly spent some of his time following two teenage boys from the town that were part of the local soccer program which is run completely by volunteers.

While in the town, Ley visited the homes of both teenages, who live in extreme poverty, because of their parents being unemployed.

“The people of South Africa were some of the friendliest people that I have ever met,” Ley said.

Along with showing the home lives of South Africans, Ley visited the nearby private school for the children of the town. The school locks its gates when school starts for safety, but has teachers who would just not show up to their classes, which Ley mentioned was sad because the children were there and wanted to learn.

The rest of the pictures in the slideshow, was of ESPN’s studio and the international press area, showcasing the behind the scenes portion of his job.

“I hope [the students] appreciate how many people worked so hard for it,” Ley said. “Also to understand that to work in sports television doesn’t mean you cover a game. There are different ways to work in the industry.”

With the presentation over, those in attendance, had a chance to come up to Ley to meet him personally and ask him questions about the sports TV industry or on a subject of their choice.

As a graduate of Seton Hall in 1976, Ley worked a couple broadcasting jobs before getting hired at ESPN in 1976 where he has been working ever since.

“It’s great to see its 2010 and [Seton Hall] doesn’t look the same but at its core it is,” Ley said.

Stephen Valenti can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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