Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame Announces Inductee Class of 2017

Berman, Honey, Musburger, Raftery, Rheinstein, Selig, Simmons, Visser, Walsh, and Weisman to be honored

The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the 11th annual class, to be inducted on Dec. 12, 2017, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The Hall of Fame will once again honor sports-broadcasting legends from across the wide range of skill sets and professions that helped create today’s sports and media industry.

“Every year, the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame shines a light on the people who have helped elevate the sports-broadcasting industry week after week and year after year through hard work, tons of talent, and a vision that strives for excellence,” says Ken Aagaard, chairman, Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. “This year’s class has been expanded to 10 categories to ensure that we honor as many industry segments as possible, and, once again, the inductees are proof positive of the strong place our industry holds in the world.”

All ticket sales from the ceremony will be donated to the SVG Sports Broadcasting Fund, a charity that helps sports-production professionals during times of financial crisis due to illness, injury, or disaster. CLICK HERE to buy tickets now.

This year’s Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductees:

Chris Berman: Hired in October 1979 as a little-known 24-year-old sports anchor one month into ESPN’s existence, Chris Berman transformed the role of studio host — and often play-by-play voice — over the next 38 years. He became one of America’s most respected, popular, and, in many ways, most beloved sportscasters of his era. Blending his genuine enthusiasm, knowledge, and wit, Berman has embodied ESPN’s dedication to entertaining and informing sports fans for nearly four decades.

Stan Honey: A major figure in technological innovation in sports television, Stan Honey co-founded Sportvision in 1998 and led development of the yellow first-down line widely used in NFL and college-football broadcasts, the ESPN K-Zone baseball pitch-tracking and -highlighting system, and the Race/FX tracking and highlighting system used in NASCAR. Prior to co-founding Sportvision, Honey worked as EVP, technology, for News Corp. from 1993 through 1998. He also holds eight patents in navigation technology and 21 patents in tracking and television special effects.

Brent Musburger: Brent Musburger’s on-air career hit the national stage in 1975, and, for more than 40 years, he was a mainstay in living rooms across America while working for ESPN, ABC Sports, and CBS Sports. Musburger’s résumé includes play-by-play or hosting responsibilities (TV or radio) for Super Bowl, College Football Championship, Final Four, The Masters, Rose Bowl, Little League World Series, FIFA World Cup, Indianapolis 500, NBA Finals, MLB Playoffs, US Open tennis, and Belmont Stakes.

Bill Raftery: Bill Raftery’s career as a basketball analyst has spanned more than 32 years and includes being a mainstay for CBS and others for events like the NCAA Tournament, Final Four, the Big East Championship, Big Ten Championship, ACC Championship, and SEC Championship, as well as NBA games for the New Jersey Nets. A two-time Emmy Award-winning analyst with playing and coaching experience, Raftery combines keen analysis and opinion with unsurpassed enthusiasm and unique catchphrases.

Linda Rheinstein: Linda Rheinstein began her career at the age of 17 as a Datavision operator for VTE and was soon a driving force in graphics design, reshaping the concept of what makes for a great sports graphic. She was the first female graphics operator in the industry and a leader in live graphics, postproduction, and special effects during the late ’70s and ’80s, when many of those technologies matured and became a key part of every sports production. In the ’90s, she helped Fox Sports create its initial graphic look.

Allan “Bud” Selig: Bud Selig was the ninth commissioner of Major League Baseball, serving as acting commissioner from 1992 to 1998 and as official commissioner until 2015. During his tenure, he implemented and expanded the use of instant replay and oversaw the launch of the MLB Network and the growth of MLB.com into one of sport’s most powerful entities. Selig also oversaw baseball through the introduction of the wild-card playoff format and was instrumental in organizing the World Baseball Classic in 2006.

Jack Simmons: Jack Simmons began his career in the NBC New York mailroom in 1970 and recently retired from Fox Sports, where he was SVP of production operations. In 1987, he was named manager of planning for NBC Sports Operations and joined Fox in 1994 as director of production at the then-fledgling network. Truly a jack of all trades, Simmons was always up for any challenge and now works to help veterans join the sports-TV industry.

Lesley Visser: A pioneer in sports broadcasting, Lesley Visser has had that word attached to much of her career and is the most highly acclaimed female sportscaster of all time. Among her firsts is being the only woman to be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the 2006 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio and Television Award, the first female NFL analyst on TV and the only sportscaster in history (male or female) who has worked on Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series, Triple Crown, Monday Night Football, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Figure Skating Championships, and the U.S. Open network broadcasts. She is currently a reporter for CBS Sports, among her firsts.

John A. Walsh: John A. Walsh joined ESPN in 1988, and his fingerprints are on many of the network’s largest initiatives and launches. He retired in 2015, closing out his career as EVP and executive editor. He was instrumental in developing ESPN’s journalistic enterprise, including SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, and many other ESPN news/information products and networks. He also led creation of ESPN The Magazine and The ESPYS and, for many years, drove the editorial direction of ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, and more.

Michael Weisman: Michael Weisman’s career has plenty of highlights, including winning 24 Emmys and working on 23 World Series and MLB Championship Series and 20 Super Bowl and NFL Championship Games. He was the youngest-ever producer and executive producer at NBC Sports. But his real legacy is the impact he has had with his ability to develop talent in front of and behind the camera. He’s the man who put Bob Costas in a studio role and created the announcer-coach position for Marty Glickman. In addition, he was part of the organizing team for the 1994 World Cup in Los Angeles and joined Fox Sports when it launched its baseball coverage in 1996.

The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame induction will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by the ceremony at 7:00. Tables and individual tickets can be purchased by contacting Carrie Bowden at 917-446-4412 or via e-mail at carrie@sportsvideo.org.

To become a sponsor of the Hall of Fame ceremony, please contact Rob Payne at 212-481-8131 (rob@sportsvideo.org) or Andrew Gabel at 646-998-4554 (agabel@sportsvideo.org).

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