Arlo White isn’t quite a native Chicagoan. It just feels like it. After all, he’s been coming here since he was a teenager, and has a massive love for the city. So when the Chicago Fire reached out to inquire whether he’d want to call matches for the club, it was an easy decision.
“I, metaphorically, snapped his hand off,” White told Hot Time in Old Town. “It’s not a good negotiating position, by the way, to snap someone’s hand off that quickly, and we’ve had to wait a bit, but here we are.”
White was supposed to join the Chicago Fire’s broadcast team last season. But, as was the case with most things, the pandemic spoiled those plans. This season, he’ll be in the booth for four matches, beginning with the June 19 away match against the Columbus Crew—the last match ever at Historic Crew Stadium.
White will then call the next three Fire home matches alongside Tony Meola at Soldier Field—Wednesday, June 23 at 7:00 p.m. CT vs. FC Cincinnati, Saturday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. CT vs. Philadelphia Union, and Saturday, July 3 at 7:00 p.m. CT vs Atlanta United. All matches will be on WGN-TV and CFFC Live. After that, he leaves on Tokyo Olympics duty for NBC.
“It’s not as many games as we had hoped in the first season because of the Olympics, but hopefully we’ll get off to a good start, and we can expand it in ‘22,” White said.
It’s incredible to think that White has figured out a way to call weekly Premier League matches, then come to his favorite U.S. city—Chicago—for the summer.
“I’ve got the commentator’s golden ticket,” he joked. “It really does feel like that. It’s a dream situation for me. I’m well aware of that.”
The Leicester, UK native is no stranger to Major League Soccer. He was the Seattle Sounders play-by-play man a decade ago, and worked on national MLS broadcasts for NBC in 2013-14, before moving back to England to be the network’s top voice on its Premier League coverage.
He had a dream season in 2016, when Leicester City, his favorite club, overcame 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League title. A few months later, White’s Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in more than a century.
Can he bring some of that luck to the struggling Fire?
“There are good signs,” White said of the Fire. “The structure of the club, and the foundation of the club, I think is as healthy as it’s ever been. It looks immensely bright. And on the field, it’s going to get better. I’m absolutely convinced about that.”
White talked about a lot more with Hot Time, from his ideal day in Chicago, his favorite Chicago Bears memories, and his acting job as the voice of AFC Richmond on Apple TV’s Ted Lasso. More with Arlo coming very soon!