It’s pretty well known that Arlo White, NBC Sports’ lead Premier League commentator, is a die hard Leicester City fan. White grew up in Leicester and has supported the club since he was a little boy.
When NBC won the rights to show the Premier League in the United States and hired White to be the lead commentator, being an objective voice on the world’s biggest league was no problem for him. After all he wouldn’t be calling any Leicester City matches as they were still in the Championship.
In the second year of NBC and the Premier League’s partnership, White didn’t have to worry much about being impartial towards Leicester. They spent most of the season at the bottom of the table and White rarely was assigned their games.
But this year. Well this year has been different.
This year Leicester City is in the midst of pulling off the greatest shock in the Premier League’s history as they’ve gone from a nearly relegated team last season, to one that will likely win the Premier League.
If you’re a Leicester fan, this is something you never imagined could happen. If and when it does, how many Leicester fans truly believe it could happen again?
That’s why Arlo White now has a dilemma, which begs the question: If you were Arlo White and you had the choice to do either, would you rather work the game where Leicester win the title as a commentator, or take the day off and go to the game as a fan?
This question of course comes with a caveat. If the title race comes down to the final game of the season, White would have no choice but to work the game. All 10 Premier League games take place at the same time on the final day of the season and NBC broadcasts every game on one of their family of networks. That would require White to be in the booth at Stamford Bridge where Leicester would take on Chelsea.
But what if Leicester could win it earlier then that? What if Leicester have a chance to win the title at Old Trafford on May 1st, or a week later at home against Everton? If that were the case, he can certainly swing his schedule to allow him to attend the game as a fan, even if means doing one fewer game than he usually does over the weekend.
I can speak for many fans when I say as much as we’d miss him in the booth, we wouldn’t mind if he did this as he’s certainly earned it.
There are certainly two sides to this argument and I don’t think either of them are wrong. If White were to call the game for NBC, his call of Leicester City winning the title would go down in history. Whenever you’d think of the year Leicester City won the title, you would think of Arlo White’s call when it happened. (I still can hear Martin Tyler shouting “Agueroooo” from 2012 and as a Manchester United fan, it still haunts me to this day).
White’s call of Leicester winning the title would become iconic and will forever be remembered by fans – in America. For the fans in England, the home of the Premier League and the home of White and his family, no one would hear it. In fact at the start of this season White even told the New York Times that his wife has barely heard any of his work due to NBC’s digital platform only being available in the United States.
While the call of Leicester City winning the title will certainly be iconic and be replayed time and time again in England as well, their productions would be using the voice of whomever Sky Sports has calling the game. No one in England would even hear White’s call.
The truth is, we unfortunately haven’t heard much of White on the call for Leicester City matches this year, and you’d be forgiven if you almost associate Peter Drury’s voice with the club. Back in December, Leicester welcomed Chelsea to the King Power Stadium on a Monday night in what was arguably the biggest game Leicester had ever played (at the time, they’ve had some bigger ones since then). On a Monday night you would think White would be on the call for NBC, but instead it was Peter Drury, though that doesn’t mean White wasn’t at the stadium.
I'll be an interested observer at the KP Jim. Research purposes you understand… https://t.co/Djts6jog9O
— Arlo White (@arlowhite) December 14, 2015
If Arlo White wants to skip the match to attend his boyhood club capturing the impossible dream, I have no problem with that. He’s more than earned it and who knows if we’ll ever see this again. Sometimes you just need to drop what you’re doing and be overcome by the magic of what’s going on.
However if he does work the game then know this Arlo. If you need to drop the objectivism and let your inner Leicester fan out during the broadcast, I don’t think there’s a single American fan that would mind.