KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The City of Fountains will soon welcome the 2023 NFL Draft, and the countdown continues to the three-day event, just two weeks out.
The first round of the NFL Draft opens in primetime Thursday, April 27, and the party continues outside Union Station and the WWI Museum and Memorial through April 29.
Kansas City can expect to see 300,000 people during the NFL Draft, according to Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the KC Sports Commission, who gave an update to the city council Thursday.
Nelson said they expect $125 million to be spent in Kansas City, resulting in $10 million in tax revenue. More than 1,000 local people have already been hired to work the event.
At the draft site, the stage is already going vertical.
“You’re really seeing the stage come to life. It got lifted today to reach that height, and now the build out will happen in the next two weeks,” Nelson said. “And then final week that will all be prepared, ready to welcome fans.”
The NFL said this will be the largest structure crews have ever built for a draft. It’s the same size as a football field — including the end zones.
Jon Barker, senior vice president of global events for the NFL, said construction is going according to plan.
“Hopefully you can look outside your window and see the sheer size and magnitude of what the NFL Draft is,” Barker said.
Meanwhile, the NFL Draft Experience will be on the south lawn of the WWI Museum.
Barker said fans will be able to run a 40-yard dash, kick field goals and throw footballs. They’ll have activities where you can measure yourself against a professional football player.
Nelson said all three days, there will be a live concert following the draft. When the draft was held in Las Vegas last year, the NFL didn’t announce those concerts until five days before the draft.
For food, Barker said they’ll bring in 20 local restaurants. Nelson said about half are minority owned.
And we can’t forget about the show.
The stage will include 10,000 square feet of LED panels and screens — that’s the largest they’ve ever used in a stage production.
“We really built two very large screens to flank the left and right sides of the stage,” Barker said. “So everybody that’s going to be sitting on that north lawn will be able to see and watch the draft.”
Nelson said there will be a free park and ride shuttle service offered Thursday and Friday. It will pick up in the West Bottoms Garage, just north of Hy-Vee Arena. But fans are required to register in advance to get a spot.
She also said entrances to the draft will be accessible for all, and there will be sensory free zones for fans, if needed.
“We build these sensory areas both in our experiences and our theater for people whether they’re young or old,” Barker said, “who are maybe overloaded from the situation.”