President & CEO
knelson@sportkc.org | 816-389-4190

Kathy Nelson works to promote Kansas City sports locally and nationally with the goal of attracting, retaining and facilitating sports events and organizations.  She helps the bi-state region realize the economic, social and community-building benefits of sports. In 2016, Nelson was selected to serve on the National Association of Sports Commissions Board of Directors.

Nelson has become a leader in Kansas City and was recognized in 2017 for her accomplishments when she was honored by the Kansas City Business Journal as one of the Women Who Mean Business. The Kansas City Star included Nelson on their list of 20 Most Influential Sports Figures in Kansas City placing her at number five behind Clark Hunt, CEO/owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Dayton Moore, Royals general manager, Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City’s coach/technical director and David Glass, Royals owner. In November 2017, Kathy and the Sports Commission were honored as Sports Commission of the Year from Compete Magazine. Nelson kicked off 2018 by receiving the Sports Tourism Executive/CEO of the Year award, a national honor.  She was also named to Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 list and was named Grand Champion at the Dancing with Kansas City Stars benefiting Cristo Rey.

 Kathy is included in the book They Shoot…They Score!  by Dr. Patrick Rishe as a national leader in sports. Kathy was honored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City with the John J. “Buck” O’Neil Diamond MVP Award for her dedication to the Boys and Girls Clubs, their sports programs and the youth they serve.

Nelson first joined the KC Sports Commission in August of 2010 as the WIN for KC Director then moved into the President & CEO of the KC Sports Commission in November 2011.  Prior to joining the KC Sports Commission staff, she was an active volunteer and member of WIN for KC and the KC Sports Commission for over ten years.  She was previously on the WIN for KC Advisory Board and has also been involved on the Women’s Sports Award Celebration committee.  In 2010 she served as chair for the event, which featured Billie Jean King.

Prior to the KC Sports Commission, Nelson served in senior management roles in marketing, sales and promotions at Time Warner Cable and Metro Sports and held a number of roles at FOX 4/WDAF-TV in Kansas City including creative services manager, producer, reporter and editor.

Along her career path, Nelson has received numerous Telly, Emmy and cable television awards for television production, specifically sports production.  She was the first woman to win a regional Emmy for the production of an NFL game in the early 2000’s.  She attended Truman State University.

Nelson continues to be a featured speaker for numerous organizations such as various local city chambers, rotary clubs, universities and other miscellaneous community events.  In her free time you can find Nelson volunteering in the community. She is married with two very active daughters who are also involved in volunteering and participating in their community.


  • 2018 John J. “Buck” O’Neil Diamond MVP Award – Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City

  • 2018 Included in They Shoot…They Score! by Dr. Patrick Rishe

  • 2018 Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 List

  • 2018 Sports Tourism Executive/CEO of the Year

  • 2018 Dancing with the Kansas City Stars Grand Champion

  • 2017 Sports Commission of the Year, Eighth Annual Compete Sports Diversity Award (Petey Award)

  • 2017 Women Who Mean Business Award

  • 2017 Named one of the 20 Most Influential Sports Figures in Kansas City (#5)

  • 2015 Hotel Lodging Associations Hospitality Leadership Award

  • 2014 Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award

  • 2013 Winnetonka High School Hall of Fame Inductee

  • 2004 Alex George Volunteer of the Year Award, KC Sports Commission

  • Numerous Emmy & Telly television production awards

Professional and Civic Activities

  • National Association of Sports Commissions Board of Directors (2016-Present)

  • Visit KC Board of Directors (2015-present)

  • National College Basketball Hall of Fame Steering Committee (2014-Present)

  • Derrick Johnson’s Defend the Dream Foundation Executive Board (2013-Present)

  • Convention Management Advisory Authority Board (2012-Present)

  • Chancellor’s Advisory Board for the UMKC Women’s Center (2011-Present)

  • Kansas City Representative to the 2013 Xi-an City China Marathon

  • Certified Kansas City Tourism Ambassador

  • Central Exchange Member

  • Olathe Public Schools Foundation’s Women’s Giving Circle Member

  • Women Leaders in College Sports Member

  • National Association of Sports Commissions Member

  • Nonprofit Connect Member