Ahead of its tenth season of broadcasting the Premier League in the US, NBC Sports is reportedly making a big change to its coverage.
The Mail reports that White “is set to take on an as-yet unannounced role elsewhere” while also continuing to call games for the Chicago Fire of MLS. World Soccer Talk opines that White is likely to return to an MLS role stateside, which could line up with the league’s national TV deals expiring at the end of the current 2022 season. If a new TV partner (Warner Bros. Discovery has been linked, and CBS could also make sense given their investment in soccer rights) wins the rights to the league, it would make sense for that partner to make a splash with a familiar voice to US viewers in White.
Drury is a familiar voice to American viewers, as he’s the top play by play voice for the Champions League on CBS and also calls Premier League matches on the world feed (which often end up airing in the US). He’s a standout broadcaster, though his style is somewhat different from White’s.
Compare, for example, White’s call of Ilkay Gundogan’s Premier League winning goal two Sundays ago to Drury’s.
Drury lets the moment breathe before unleashing some wonderful wordplay (“from catastrophe to cacophonic joy”), while White calls it from the heart (for better and worse). Both calls are memorable for different reasons.
In another twist, World Soccer Talk also reports that more changes could be in the offing, as the contracts of the rest of NBC’s Premier League teams are up. In the company’s nine years broadcasting the Premier League, its only major change has been to replace the departing Kyle Martino with Tim Howard ahead of the 2020-21 season. While replacing White is a significant change for NBC, replacing Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, and/or Robbie Mustoe will be a dramatic shift that many fans will be less likely to accept.