Could Kansas City host an NFL Draft in the future?


May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a helmet and NFL shield logo before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

When it was announced the Kansas City Chiefs would forfeit a home game to “host” the Detroit Lions in London, many fans were upset, and rightly so. Losing a game against a quality opponent in one of the loudest venues in sports was crushing enough. In what appears to be a very important season for the organization, giving away a home game is a curious decision. What is our reward for trading tasty tailgating for quiche, omelets and other brunch favorites?

Many in town assumed, and perhaps rightly so, this was the first move in the organizations efforts to bring the Super Bowl to town. The league itself has stated a city must be willing to move a home game overseas to be eligible for the Super Bowl. The ironic aspect is many of the teams that have gone overseas to ‘host’ a game are teams that, quite frankly, don’t draw well.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are over there for the third straight year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been over there. At no point has a team of the Chiefs’ caliber both as a product on the field or as a draw in the stands made the trip over the pond to host a game. I should take this moment to point out many solid football teams have traveled overseas, but they have gone as the “visiting team.” For a team, an organization, and a fan base to lose a game, something has to be coming back. Right???

While I do believe there could be something coming back to Kansas City, I see it being the NFL Draft. And, I believe the draft would be a better fit for Kansas City then the Super Bowl.

Kansas City would not be asked to upgrade and build new hotels and highways and all the other projects the NFL would want to see to award us the Super Bowl. I fail to see why the city should spend millions upon millions of dollars for hotels and other various projects that while would get great use during the lead up time and during the Super Bowl, would they be in hot demand afterwards?

While the notion that hosting a Super Bowl will increase a cities viability and attractiveness to other events, it’s long been played out that  just is not the case. Indianapolis hasn’t seen a great increase in money flowing into their town because they hosted a Super Bowl. Events go to Phoenix, Miami, and other cities because people want to visit those cities.

Secondly, Kansas City is spaced out. Arrowhead is near nothing. Downtown, while growing, is by itself. The Plaza, which would be a great attraction, is still a drive from either previous location. The logistics of hosting an event would be rather difficult, and inefficient. Smaller cities such as Indianapolis have their football stadium downtown, near all the action. Kansas City doesn’t. And to make it work, either by street car, again, would require a massive financial investment that, lets be honest, wouldn’t exactly be in demand post-Super Bowl.

Lastly,  downtown is ideally suited to host a draft. Could the historic Midland Theater work to host a draft? Possibly. Want a bigger venue? Perfect. The Sprint Center is right next to the Power and Light district. Fans could come and go back and forth to an area that is able to host a slew of events. The open area at the P&L could play host to hundreds of fans who want to view the draft or take part in various activities.

The new Hyatt hotel that will be built with Bartle Hall will provide a great quantity of high-level, quality hotel rooms for the NFL people as well as television broadcasters from ESPN and NFL Network. The area, with experience hosting the basketball tournament for years, possesses the knowledge and know-how to host and put on a downtown event.

Maybe, eventually, Kansas City will indeed play host to a Super Bowl. Our founder did coin the phrase, so it would be a fitting idea. However, at this point in time, I believe the NFL Draft, not the Super Bowl, is the right event to go after. It would bring the eyes of the NFL world to our city without having to spend millions and millions of dollars, and would provide a neat event. And I believe moving our game against the Lions is just the bargaining chip to make it happen.