Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey is featured on the cover of one of Sports Illustrated’s World Cup preview issues unveiled Tuesday.
The cover shows Dempsey draped in a United States flag. The national team captain appears on one of four SI covers, while the others show Lionel Messi of Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Luis Suarez of Uruguay.
Dempsey becomes the first Sounder featured on the hallowed SI cover.
“It’s hard to measure, but for sure it raises the profile of the club, and that ultimately I assume sells tickets and sponsorships and TV ratings,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said.
Earlier this year, Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano appeared on the cover of SI’s baseball preview issue. The Seattle Seahawks also were featured before and after winning the Super Bowl – but Sounders coach Sigi Schmid noted that a World Cup is a much bigger event.
“Unless you’re there, you really don’t know how big an event it is,” he said. “No offense to Seattle Seahawks and the Super Bowl, but it’s the Super Bowl times 10.”