Kansas City hits New York to make pitch for NFL draft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City leaders bidding to bring land the NFL draft made their pitch league officials Wednesday, with Greater Kansas City Sports Commission president and CEO Kathy Nelson along with Chiefs president Mark Donovan leading the delegation.

“Let’s draft KC,” Nelson tweeted after delivering the group’s presentation. “Presentation done. Fingers crossed.”

Kansas City city manager Troy Schulte and director of events for Arrowhead Stadium Jeremy Slavens also participated in the proposal.

Kansas City expects stiff competition to win the draft, with 14 cities sending groups to this year’s event in Philadelphia in preparation for submitting a bid. The league is considering proposals for the 2019 to 2023 drafts. Dallas recently won the bidding for the 2018 draft.

Nelson indicated in August that the city planned to place a bid for any of the drafts in the five-year window included in the league’s request for proposals. The NFL is currently considered bids for the 2019 and 2020 seasons now, and will evaluate proposals for 2021 to 2023 at a later date..

While the group remains optimistic for its chances to land the draft in the the near future, Kansas City’s changing landscape may make its bid more competitive down the road. A downtown convention hotel planned for an opening in 2020 and the city’s new airline terminal opening as early as 2021 adds to Kansas City’s appeal.

Slavens joining the presentation team also suggests Arrowhead Stadium stands as an important part of the city’s proposal. Slavens handles many of the logistics and details for stadium events including game day operations as well as concerts and other special events.

Kansas City’s original submission includes three distinct districts for hosting the draft:

  • Historic district: includes the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Union Station and the National World War I Museum and Memorial;
  • Grand Boulevard district: includes the Power & Light District, Sprint Center, the Midland Theatre and the Kansas City Convention Center; and
  • Truman Sports Complex: utilizing Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium along with parking lots for tailgating areas.

“We always have ‘what’s that next big event’ on our radar as a sports commission and a city,” said Nelson said in August. “We’re always working in tandem with everyone with the Chiefs about what would it take.”


Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.