There are roughly 400 sports commissions in the United States. Of those, only three presidents are women.
The Kansas City Sports Commission is a privately-funded nonprofit that began in 1966. Today, it's still in good hands with Kathy Nelson.
Nelson is more than your average sports fan in Kansas City. She's the city's biggest cheerleader as the president and CEO of the sports commission.
"Our goal as a sports commission is to attract and bring sports to KC while at the same time promoting and engaging the sports that are already here," she said.
Nelson got her start in local television doing several jobs behind the scenes. In 2000 she joined Metro Sports where the staff was almost entirely made up of men. But, without hesitation, she said they welcomed her to the team.
"It was all men. They never thought twice about me being there, I never thought twice about being there in that environment, so we just grew it from there," she said.
Nelson also freelanced for National Football League games, working in a production truck. It was there that she learned not all men would be as accepting of a woman.
"One of the directors was screaming and yelling and cussing at me, and turns around and says, 'If you don't get that right I'm going to hit you over the head with a 2 X 4!' And I sat there and asked myself why I put myself in that role. And afterward, the game gets done, we go to black, tapes stop rolling and he says, 'Alright let's go get a drink,'" she said.
Nelson's love of sports began early with a father who provided the family with all the tools necessary.
"Sports was a big deal to my dad. We had a basketball court in our backyard, a stock tank for a swimming pool, makeshift track meet. So we always had a place to play," she said.
With a family of her own now consisting of a husband and two daughters, Nelson has another reason to keep sports in Kansas City thriving.
"Having kids, I want this to be the best city it can be, to provide opportunities and resources and growth development. I want them to know when they go away to college, they want to come back here," she said.
Recently Nelson and her team secured 14 NCAA championship games in the next four years.
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