NFL Draft registration opens, insiders reveal details of weekend in Kansas City

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:11 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The NFL Draft is just six weeks away, and in just over a week, the cranes will start going up at Union Station to start building out the giant stage. The NFL opened registration for fans on Wednesday.

NFL event staff who just returned home last week from their latest logistics visit to Kansas City gave us a glimpse of what you can expect beyond the renderings released last month.

Katie Keenan, the NFL’s director of live event operations described how the inside of Union Station will be transformed into what they call the prospect green room. The private area is where the prospects can get comfy as they wait, both excited and nervous, to find out where their new career will take them.

The gorgeous period architecture will be a big part of the how they build that out the area in Union Station’s Grand Hall.

“It’s right when you walk in. It’s this big, beautiful, ornate space from the 1920s,” Kennan described. “We’re going to highlight that as part of the design of the space. We’re not covering anything up and we’re adding the furniture that you would have seen in kind of a lounge, you know, back in the 1920s.”

Outside Union Station, the part open to the public, will be 100% here and now.

“There’s a lot of cool Bud Light flowing,” said Nicki Ewell, the NFL’s director of events. “There’s a lot of amazing food. That is something that we curate with the locals making sure that it feels like a real taste of Kansas City.”

That means a big barbecue focus, but it won’t be all barbecue, because Kansas City’s food scene is more diverse than just that. Keenan swears all the food vendors will be local but couldn’t be convinced to drop any hints on which restaurants are on the list.

Ewell and Keenan have been planning events like the Draft for many years. They run fan experience components at the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, among other things. They do a lot of location scouting well before the events happen. So what makes Kansas City different from other host cities?

“The lawns of the National World War One Museum and Memorial are just a perfect venue for it,” said Keenan. “It basically creates a natural amphitheater for people to watch the show.”

“I think the number one appeal of Kansas City, of course, is the fan base,” said Ewell. “We know that Chiefs Kingdom is going to show out.”

Keenan said their first visits were five years ago. That was before the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV and before the Super Bowl LVII win this year.

“It’s just crazy,” she remarked. “We were at Super Bowl saying, ‘What are the odds?’ It’s just awesome. We’ve never had that before. We’ve never had a Draft in a Super Bowl city.”

The layout will be as follows:

The south lawn will be the hub for interactive games and special displays. That’s where all the Super Bowl rings will be on display. That’s where current players will be signing autographs. The NFL has not yet announced which players will be participating.

The north lawn will be the theater viewing area. Each night will conclude with concerts on the stage. The performer list has not yet been released.

Eventually, they will be releasing a map of all the areas. For now, you can take a look at the latest news release on all the events being offered.

Be aware you can not just wander in. The area will be fenced off with designated entrances and airport-level screening to enter. They will also require clear bags similar to standard protocols at Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums. Once you’re inside the secure perimeter, you will have free roam of the area.

Fans may register for free access to the Draft here or by downloading the NFL OnePass app.