From the not-quite-a-surprise reveal up through a full 10 days later Clint Dempsey’s transfer to Sounders FC is the talk of American soccer media. It dominated local sites, local news, national soccer specialty sites and even U.S. general sports media.
In Seattle local media attention is not new. This was bigger than previous name signings like Kasey Keller and Freddie Ljungberg in that it grabbed the attention of mainstream sports media even during the NFL preseason. Dempsey’s signing will have an impact far behind the shores of the Puget Sound.
Monday the fervor for an American star returning home grew even larger. Interviews with ESPN and Sports Illustrated aren’t new for Designated Players. The New York Times or The Dan Patrick Show putting large efforts at soccer coverage is a bit more of a rarity.
Moving the needle in the modern media environment is difficult. Moving that needle for soccer even more so. MLS, Seattle and Dempsey moved the needle. Long form stories, interviews and photo shoots with sports-themed national media is a solid draw of attention to the player and the club.
Playing out here in Seattle Dempsey will wear Rave Green on club dates and Red, White & Blue on country dates. Already a sports star known to the fans that follow soccer every four years he was distant, across an ocean. Now he’s close, easily accessible and every sports mention will talk about Sounders FC.Dempsey did more than just appear on sports-themed media. He hit the news circuit.
Yes, David Beckham and Landon Donovan received this treatment in the past. Thierry Henry did was well, although to a lesser extent. All three of those play in American media capitals. Dempsey is out here in our corner of the country.
Every one of Dempsey’s appearances talks about Seattle Sounders FC with a color palette of Rave Green, Sounders Blue and Cascade Shale. During the next year Seattle’s new signing will be in front of MLS and U.S. National Team fans as one of the faces of soccer. The World Cup in 2014 should feature a Sounder, probably as the captain as he’s been for the last several rounds of qualifying. There’s a strong possibility a couple of his teammates join him in Brazil. Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans are trying to cement their places now.
Around the globe when introducing the USA the analysts and play-by-play voices will talk about soccer in Seattle, the surprise swoop for Dempsey.
Millions of people around the globe will experience Sounders FC even if just tangentially. Since the earliest days of the franchise the ownership group talked about creating a global brand. Adding just one player on top of the quality side strengthens their attempt.
Seattle gets to share Dempsey and the Sounders FC experience with many more people as result of this swoop. His first home game that will mean a sell-out of NFL capacity as well as viewers on ESPN2. For the rest of the season you get to enjoy an honest and true national soccer star on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field while the nation and the world watch from afar.