KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Local leaders say it took three attempts to convince the National Football League that Kansas City would be a good venue for the NFL Draft.
This will be one of the largest events in the city’s history.
The footprint for the 2023 NFL Draft extends from the Liberty Memorial and Crown Center all the way downtown to the Power and Light District and Sprint Center.
Kansas City first bid on the draft in 2015, but the league chose Nashville, Tenn., instead.
The local organizing committee learned that NFL likes everything in one compact area, within walking distance for fans. The street car line provided a vital link when Kansas City bid again in 2017.
After another rejection, leaders were not deterred. With the promise of a new convention center hotel coming downtown, the city could guarantee more than 10,000 hotel rooms nearby.
Those involved in the bidding say all of these incremental improvements helped push the KC bid over the goal line.
“We talk a lot with local businesses about attracting and retaining really high quality employees,” said Mark Donovan, Kansas City Chiefs president. “This is another reason Kansas City gets on that map. How do we maximize that? That’s the real opportunity.”
The football festival is free for fans, but Kansas City will have to pay to host it. Officials would not reveal the cost of the city’s contribution, but say they expect philanthropic and private fundraising will pay for most of the expenses.
Recent NFL drafts have generated more than $100-million in spending in the host cities. Fifty-five million people live within a day’s drive of Kansas City. And the NFL may prompt many of them to travel to Kansas City in 2023.