KC awaits word on NFL Draft announcement, works to attract other sporting events

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NFL is expected to announce the city that will host the 2019 draft on Wednesday, and while Kansas City is a finalist, that's not the only huge event the city is trying to attract. 

The city of fountains is also on the shortlist for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

"Just being at the table is a huge deal," Kansas City Sports Commission President and CEO Kathy Nelson said of the bid.

Kansas City is part of a bid that has been dubbed United 2026 and includes the United States, Canada and Mexico. On June 13, FIFA will award the World Cup to either the United Bid or to Morocco. We won't know which events will be held in Kansas City for another couple years.

In the meantime, the Kansas City Sports Commission has been hard at work trying to snag other major sporting events, such as the NCAA Women's Final Four. That bid is due this week. 

The commission is also working to secure the 2019 USA Gymnastics National Championship and the 2020 US Synchronized Figure Skating Championship.

Nelson said developments like the new terminal at KCI help sell the city.

"Everything that we're doing to improve our city is something that's a tool we use on a national, international scope," she said.

Visit KC Communications Manager Toni Alexander echoed the sentiment about the terminal, while also pointing to the new Loew's Convention Center Hotel as a major selling point. Alexander said concern over a lack of hotel space by the convention center has created issues in the past. The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, which booked its annual meeting for October 2021, told Visit KC the new hotel was a deciding factor.

Shriners International will be the first to utilize the new space during its 2020 convention. 

As for the draft, ESPN is reporting Nashville is the leading contender for 2019. However, Kansas City is also a finalist for 2020. A selection committee visited during the Big 12 Tournament to tour potential venues like Union Station.

Nelson is confident Kansas City will have a shot at the spotlight.

"Do you know how many other cities are salivating that we're on the shortlist? That's a big deal, and we might be a bridesmaid right now for that, but who knows what happens next," she said. 

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