KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Representatives from the National Football League were in Kansas City on Wednesday, examining the site for what will be the largest event in the region’s history.
The 2023 NFL Draft is now less than 100 days away.
Kansas City knows what it’s like to host hundreds of thousands of people in the Liberty Memorial and Union Station area. It’s the same place where both the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals celebrated their last championships.
But Kansas City leaders are expecting even more for the NFL Draft in just a few months.
With just 99 days to go, the city’s finance committee approved spending $1.5 million to pay for all of the local people needed to roll out the red carpet for the NFL.
Over 7,000 people have already registered to volunteer or work during the event.
“When you think about any event we host in our city — whether that’s Big 12 or a convention, or even events at Arrowhead, things like that — there are volunteers, there’s apparel, there’s transportation, security, anything and everything that comes to putting that together,” said Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the KC Sports Commission.
The sports commission is raising an additional $2 million in private money to pay for staging the draft.
“I think what’s great about this commitment, our financial commitment, that money stays here in the community,” Nelson said. “It’s not like we’re paying the NFL. We are paying our people back to make this event great.”
Nelson said the return on investment for the community will be huge: an estimated $10 million in income, sales and restaurant taxes and about $105 million in total spending for hotels, food and drink, transportation, retail sales and recreation.
In all, Nelson said the draft will bring about $154 million in spending to the local economy.
In addition, it will already be a busy time for Kansas City before the NFL arrives in April. The city will host the MIAA basketball tournaments, the Big 12 basketball tournaments, the NCAA Men’s Regional and the NAIA Men’s Basketball Tournament this spring.
And as big as the NFL Draft will be, it’s just a warm up for another record-setting event coming to Kansas City when it hosts the 2026 World Cup in three years.
“When you get a chance to get 50 million views on television and probably 300 or 400 million views in three years at the World Cup, this is a great advantage for KC and we need to take advantage of it,” Kansas City Councilman Kevin O’Neill said.