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City leaders put in bid to bring NFL Draft to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City is hoping to draw tens of thousands of football fans, by submitting a bid to host the NFL Draft.

A team of top city leaders flew to New York City Wednesday, selling Kansas City to the NFL. They’re hoping Kansas City could host the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft.  Should the city get chosen, it could be the biggest platform the city’s ever had.

Even on an off game day, sports fans huddle into the Granfalloon Restaurant and Bar to grab food, beer and check out the latest NFL news on the big screens.

“Grew up a fan.  Played when I was younger.  But primarily in my older ages, it’s all about fantasy football,” said fan Brian Strohm of Kansas City.

Now, Kansas City is hoping to fulfill its own fantasy to host the NFL Draft.

“I mean I’d kind of equate it to what happened during the All Star Game, right.  Nobody thought our city could do it.  We did it and it was fantastic.  Put us on the map.  I think it’d be great,” Strohm said.

City leaders are pitching three possible spots to hold the major event including a grouping of Union Station, the World War One Museum and Kauffman Center.  Option two would be the Sprint Center and Power & Light District.  Option three would be the Truman Sports Complex.

“Well it’d be a great event for us," said Kathy Nelson, president of the Kansas City Sports Commission.  "We know we can host large events this scale.  The World Series parade helped us have that confidence even more.  For us, it’s just a really great signature event for our city and for NFL fans and for Chiefs kingdom.  It would be huge."

Chicago and Philly hosted the last couple of drafts. Those cities brought in more than 200,000 visitors for the draft and related events.

The Windy City says the draft had an $81 million economic impact and created 840 new, temporary jobs. Those selling Kansas City to the NFL have every reason to think we’d see a similar benefit. For comparison, when Kansas City hosted the All Star game in 2012, it had an estimated $60 million economic impact to the area.

“Having that exposure to people from all over the country and the world that would be watching, I think our vision today really proved to them today how passionate we are about having it in our city and how great of a job we would do if awarded,” Nelson said.

All the visitors and exposure could benefit the city big time during the event and beyond.

“I think it would be just another way to introduce our city to everybody else and get another big event,” said Tim Caniglia, owner of the Granfalloon Restaurant & Bar.

Right now, Kansas City is one of eight cities in the running for the NFL draft. The pitch team is hoping to make the cut into the top four next month, which would launch a more intensive selection process.