KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is on the clock in more ways than one, and there’s no better guest to talk about some big sporting events on the horizon than Kathy Nelson from the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visit KC.
The NFL Draft is less than 100 days away with the first round beginning on Thursday, April 27, and the final round concluding on Saturday, April 29.
Nelson said she’s attended each NFL Draft leading up to this April’s, and describes in the show how the event is something of a chameleon, adapting to each host city and what it has to offer. Of note for football fans and observers, she said Las Vegas’ draft experience in 2022 had 1 million square feet of space to navigate, Kansas City will have 3 million square feet of space, including the stage and fan experience.
She goes on to describe how championship parades for the Kansas City Royals in 2015 and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 helped inform their transportation strategy, using lessons from those events to help fans have smooth and reliable access to the upcoming draft, which takes place in the area of Union Station and the World War I Memorial.
She says to watch out for plans and renderings of the event during Super Bowl week. If you’re planning on attending, the event is free, but you will need to download an app and register. Fans may have to pay for parking and concessions, but the event itself is non-ticketed and won’t cost anything.
Shifting gears and switching sports, the countdown is also on the 2026 FIFA World Cup, where Kansas City will be under the international spotlight.
Like previous drafts, Nelson was also at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and says the event in North America will be much different than the one that just occurred in Doha given its spread over 16 cities.
She also said it will be unlike any sporting event ever hosted in Kansas City. While only 75,000 fans may attend any given match at Arrowhead Stadium, the city and the region must prepare for tens of thousands to attend fan fests. There are plans being put together to help fans move around while also dealing with language barriers.
As it relates to the games at Arrowhead Stadium, there will be needed modifications that come at a cost, and Nelson details the bid committee’s approach to paying for that work. She also talks about the impacts of “Base Camps” for countries that will have teams and fans staying in Kansas City for the tournament.
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