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Out of the Darke-ness and into the White

Arlo White is expected to be announced as NBC's lead play-by-play announcer for next season, reports EPL Talk.


This only affects about a third or maybe a half of this blog's audience - perhaps more if you regularly "borrow" certain Internet resources (but you wouldn't do that, would you, for you're considerate, law-abiding citizens of the world, right?) - but according an "EPL Talk source", Arlo White is set to be confirmed next Tuesday as the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC and NBC Sports when they take over the Premier League's broadcasting rights in the USA next season. Seeing as how White is the current voice of the MLS on NBC, this has been widely expected.

Much like the best late-night talk show host in America - or your favorite blogger - Arlo came here from across The Pond. He's not actually very old, so it was not on The Mayflower. It was in fact just a few years ago, 2010 to be exact, that he became the play-by-play guy for the Seattle Sounders, making a good show of himself as just a one-man booth* on both radio and TV. The amazing attendance figures and the atmosphere in Seattle was said to have "blown away" the Leicester native and made his decision to secede quite easy.

* This seems like the perfect opportunity to mention that I really, really wish they'd get rid of the second guy on the broadcasts. The color guys, or the analysts, or whatever they want to call themselves, without the lone exception of Gary Neville, they're all useless. Some are downright nauseating or, even worse, are Tony Gale or Ian Wright.

After two years with the Sounders, White gained promotion to the NBC's national MLS coverage. I admit I actually haven't heard him all that often in this role - despite being a regular listener of his Sounders broadcasts - but I imagine he's continued his tradition of identifying players correctly, getting excited at the right moments, and sometimes even being able to actually describe what's happening on the pitch. For a taste, here's the official tribute / thank you video from the Sounders:

It's scintillating; it's sensational; it's (Seattle Sounders) soccer!

So if Arlo's in, who's out? Well, Fox Soccer didn't actually have any in-house guys, they just used the TWI or Sky feeds - until they had the bright idea of shoehorning Gus Johnson into the role on Champions League broadcasts. Reviews on him - let's be nice - have been mixed. Fox Soccer has both the Champions and the Europa Leagues locked up for the next two years still, so we'll get our fill of Gus screams until we're fat and happy. ESPN, for their small share of the pie, had Ian Darke and Steve McManaman, who now will have to delve back into freelance (if allowed) until the World Cup rolls around.

Of course Arlo can't do each and every single match (and NBC has promised to make available each and every single match, including online streaming - just like they're doing for the upcoming NHL playoffs and Formula 1 or just like they did for the 2012 London Olympics), and so we'll still hear plenty of the voices that we know and love or that we know and hate. Personally, I'm still going to be needing my semi-regular dose of Jon Champion.

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