KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City eight days away, national media outlets, including ESPN, are announcing their plans to bring coverage to millions of football fans across the country.
Earlier this week, ESPN, which bills itself as the “worldwide leader in sports,” released its coverage plans, which includes roughly 35 hours of coverage across multiple platforms between Thursday, April 27 and Saturday, April 29.
The network identified Kansas City as the “BBQ Capital of the World” in announcing its coverage plans.
Last week, Ryan Barrows, vice president of operations for Joe's Kansas City BBQ, told KSHB 41 reporter Charlie Keegan the restaurant is expecting crowds similar to when the Kansas City Chiefs play on a Super Bowl Sunday.
Barrows advises those looking for some barbecue to order carry-out. He predicts lines will be out the door.
"There are only so many hours in the day and spots in line," Barrows said. "But I think it's going to be a lot of fun and we're excited to see a lot of people. We're excited to show Kansas City off."
Another Kansas City barbecue joint, Q39, is predicting the NFL Draft will bring crowds similar to if you combined a Chiefs Super Bowl Sunday with the Fourth of July.
One of Kansas City's legendary barbecue pioneers, Arthur Bryant's Barbecue, says crowds could exceed all previous events.
The joint will host an NFL media day on Wednesday, April 26, with on-air talent from the NFL Network, CBS Sports and Fox Sports.
The combined coverage plan from ESPN and ABC will feature two different broadcast sets. ESPN will use a set inside the NFL Draft Theater that’s under construction in front of Kansas City’s Union Station.
ABC’s set will be located just outside the theater next to the Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain that sits in the median of Pershing Avenue.
Personalities from several ESPN shows, including NFL Live and College GameDay will be part of the network’s three-day coverage. ESPN will originate its wall-to-wall coverage from Kansas City at 2 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 27 ahead of the first round that night.
Fan access to the NFL Draft and the NFL Draft Experience, located on the north and south lawns of the National World War I Museum and Memorial, is free, though the league requires attendees to download the NFL’s “One Pass” app to their smartphone.