KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NFL Draft is going to be bigger when it comes to Kansas City next month.
There are less than 40 days to go until the NFL Draft hits KC and the NFL is revealing the logistics surrounding the three-day event.
The theater stage at Union Station where draft picks will be announced will be the biggest in the NFL Draft’s 87-year history.
“It’s tremendous. It’s almost the size of a football field, the theater structure itself,” Katie Keenan, NFL senior director of live event operations, said.
Keenan explained how the structure, which will sit in front of Union Station, will reflect the design of the historic landmark and highlight the look of the building.
The NFL Draft Theater is free for fans to watch.
Fans will be allowed on the North Lawn of the WWI Museum and Memorial on a first-come-first-served basis. It is standing room only.
Adjusting to building such a huge structure has come with some changes according to Keenan.
“We had to do some additional kind of engineering work to work with the building to make sure that the structure that we wanted to build could actually be built there. But as far as the building itself, I mean, it’s really just a matter of highlighting how beautiful the architecture is. So that’s been much more of an opportunity to us than a challenge,” Keenan said.
“You’ll see the façade of the building on broadcast and on television as really the backdrop of the whole draft and then the space on the interior, where the prospects that are about to be drafted are sitting with their families to wait, is in the kind of main grand plaza of Union Station,” Keenan said.
The area where the prospects and their family will be sitting will be set up to feel like the waiting room of a train station complimenting the ambiance of Union Station.
“You’re rarely put into a building like this.”
“We’ve been in ballrooms or big tents and we try to make them not look like that. Right. But this is the opposite, right? We’ve got this beautiful space and we can just add to it,” Keenan said. “It’s going to be it’s going to look awesome.”
The NFL will begin building the structure at the end of March and it will be built over five weeks.
The businesses inside Union Station will be closed for the draft but the NFL will utilize them for operations during the draft.
NFL personnel was in Kansas City for the Chiefs’ Super Bowl championship parade and learned that maneuvering crowd movement is one of the last-minute tweaks they’ll have to do.
“There are things that are very different and people are just so crazy excited after a Super Bowl win. Draft is definitely different than that, it’s a long day,” Keenan said.
“There are long days, people come in and out. We’re just learning about how that site functions and how the city operates during events. But it’s all been good learnings and good collaboration with the city folks,” Keenan said.
There will also be the Draft Experience which is described as an interactive football theme park.
There will be big screens to see the event from several locations along with a Kansas City Chiefs activation where fans will be able to interact with cheerleaders, receive autographs from players to be named later and take pictures with the Chiefs’ three Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl Rings as well as the rest of the 32 teams in the league.
The schedule of appearances will only be announced in the NFL OnePass app.
The NFL Draft will be held April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Fans wanting to attend the draft have to download the NFL’s OnePass app and register.