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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NFL regular season hasn’t even started yet but Kansas City businesses are already licking their lips over next year’s NFL Draft.

It’s still eight months away but companies have to start thinking about what they’re going to do now so they don’t miss out on all the money the NFL Draft will bring.

“First of all, resources are going to be scarce,” said Tico Sports President and Partner Cici Rojas.

That’s why Rojas says her Spanish language sports production company is already reserving space for a Latino-themed draft event. The challenge is making sure she can rent the equipment she needs while putting on a broadcast covering the NFL Draft .

The payoff, though, could be huge.

“Many people will drive to Kansas City for these three or four days and many pockets of the Latino population are located in a three or four-state area,” Rojas said.

Before the pandemic, Nashville claimed it set a new record, saying it pulled in more than $130 million during the NFL Draft in 2019.

COVID got in the way in 2020 before Cleveland claimed to welcome $42 million to that city in a NFL Draft weekend with a long list of COVID restrictions.

Those aren’t expected in Kansas City in 2023, which is good news for business owners like runner! cocktail Co-Founder Brian Shellenberger.

“I’m already talking to businesses from Crossroads all the way north to the City Market,” said Shellenberger.

Runner! Cocktails is a mobile bar business, bringing mixed bar drinks to events. He’s hoping to get in on the long list of private parties that will be in town while also capitalizing on the hundreds of thousands of fans walking around downtown.

“If March Madness shows us anything with Power and Light District, you know there’s going to be a huge influx of people in a very concentrated area, so we see a lot of opportunity there,” said Shellenberger.

That means figuring out where he can hire additional staff to make sure his business, which only launched during the pandemic, benefits from the economic boost.

“Focus on what you do best,” said Small Business Administration District Director Michael Barrera. “Promote what you do best.”

Barrera and a handful of other organizations are working on meetings and programs to help small businesses prepare and benefit from the NFL Draft. The first meeting is Thursday, August 25 at Union Station, hosted by the Prospect Business Association from 9:30 – 11 a.m.

“We need to make sure we do it right, so we get other events like the World Cup and other large events or large conventions, large businesses,” Barrera said.

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