KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Monday is exactly one month before the NFL Draft’s First Round will be broadcast from a massive stage in the parking lot at Union Station.
The lot was closed Monday while crews took the first steps to get ready to build the stage. Light poles were taken down, and the lot will stay open until the weekend, at which point it will be closed until the Draft is over.
“We probably won’t see the closures inside of the building probably until three to four to five days ahead of time,” Union Station President and CEO George Guastello said.
That means the building itself and the variety of attractions will also be open until at least April 24. Since the front lot will be closed, visitors will have to park in the parking garage to the west.
Big events like the Royals World Series parade and two Super Bowl celebrations help, but Guastellos says it was a different event in the 2010s that laid the groundwork for the Draft.
“We were very fortunate to land the NFL Draft because of what we did for American Ninja Warriors when we turned the front of the building into a giant television set, where all across the world, you had a chance to watch it,” Guastello said. “We learned from that how to become that production space.”
That massive television set will be active for multiple days, creating a different set of challenges for Unite Private Networks (UPN) CEO Jason Adkins. UPN helps make sure cell service stays up.
“For us, the difference this time is rather then everybody coming into downtown for 4-5 hours, having a parade and then going home, now we have to staff coverage for 3-4 days,” Adkins said.
He says they’ll have more people ready to respond to equipment or service issues for that extra time, but sending the right kind of messages will help.
“Providers have done a really good job, we’ve done a good job, so I think it’ll be a little easier,” Adkins said. “More texting, less video, but phone calls and stuff went through for the parade, they should go through for the Draft too.”
“We learned from three other times, and we’ll learn from this so that the World Cup is even better,” Guastello said.
You can find information about Union Stations hours and updates here.