KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As is the case with parking gates for most Kansas City Chiefs games at Arrowhead Stadium, the NFL Fan Experience outside of Union Station on the lawn of the WWI Museum and Liberty Memorial opened earlier than expected Thursday.
Large crowds led organizers to open gates at 11:30 a.m. instead of waiting until noon.
The NFL Draft Experience is a free interactive football theme park. Fans are required to download the NFL OnePass app and register. Adults are able to register for their children.
Unexpectedly, the NFL was not scanning QR codes through the app to allow people into the experience Thursday afternoon. Workers outside told FOX4 they were only scanning the QR codes for people to do activities inside the entry gates. As expected, the draft was bringing people in from across the country.
“Me being from Atlanta, I don’t get to see the big different countryside and stuff like that of Kansas City,” Atlanta, Georgia, resident Aaron Grady said in an interview with FOX4 Thursday.
Grady’s been a Falcon season ticket holder for the last three years. He got to the memorial early Thursday.
“It wasn’t until after we got here that we read that it would be a limited capacity here, but at the same time, we wanted to come out and make sure that we get the autographs and all types of pictures and stuff like that before everybody gets in because it’s going to be a big rush come 8 o’clock.”
8 o’clock eastern or 7 o’clock central. The NFL said Wednesday they’d let in just more than 60,000 fans at a time, and just because you registered through the OnePass app, that didn’t guarantee you a spot inside the entry gates. Wednesday afternoon, no one was not being let in.
“It’s going to hit the capacity,” Kansas City resident Antonio Howard said in an interview with FOX4 Thursday. “If you can get Uber here, Uber here…get here, pay your $50 for your parking, no problems. Five minute [walk] right up the hill.”
Howard even had his newborn with him backpacked to his chest Thursday afternoon. “We got two Super Bowls with Pat. We got to host the draft,” Howard continued. “Hopefully we’ll get a dome to host the Super Bowl — hopefully.”
As fans file in and take in all the event has to offer, the NFL Draft Red Carpet will kick off at 4:45 p.m. where top prospects will make their entrance before learning where they’ll play next season.
Before the draft itself begins at 7 p.m., Kansas City’s Oleta Adams will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
The Military District of Washington’s Joint Armed Forces Color Guard and the United States Army Field Band Drummers will present the flag as Brittney Spencer sings the national anthem from the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Kansas City party band “Lost Wax” will play in between Draft Selections daily. Following the first round, the first of three draft concerts will take place on the grounds with Fall Out Boy performing on Thursday.