4Star Politics: KC Sports Commission leader Kathy Nelson discusses Big 12 future, World Cup bid


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The fate of the Big 12 is up in the air with the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma both signaling departure from the conference, with intent to join the Southeastern Conference. Kansas City has a particular interest in what happens next for the conference and its members, and there’s no one better qualified to talk about those implications than Kathy Nelson, the president and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission.

She joined 4Star Politics’ John Holt and Dave Helling to discuss the jarring developments and talk about what immediately lies ahead. At present, the moves by UT and OU don’t have an impact until 2025, and Nelson explains why if that remains the case, nothing changes with the current contracts that see the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament played in downtown Kansas City through that season.

She also explains that independent of what happens with the conference, the commission will still pursue NCAA events, like it’s done to bring championships for wrestling, bowling and golf to the metro.

However, if the Big 12 dissolves, and schools like Kansas and Kansas State leave for other power conferences, like the Atlantic Coast Conference or Big 10, she discusses how that will be challenging to bring those conference tournaments to town.

Where are we with the 2026 World Cup bid?

Nelson says the commission is preparing for FIFA to visit Kansas City in October as it looks to narrow down the 17 host cities bidding to 10 by the beginning of 2022. She describes why Kansas City has advantages, even over major cities like New York and Los Angeles.

Path to the NFL Draft

Nelson and the panel also discuss the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, and what she and the commission learned from attending the event in Cleveland.

FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

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