Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Peter Montine


If a city wants to keep a professional sports team within its borders, can that city use the power of eminent domain to do so? Although cities have not been able to successfully condemn the actual sports franchises within their respective cities, they have been successful in condemning land for the development of new sports venues intended to entice their teams to stay. In 2005, the City of Arlington, Texas invoked the power of eminent domain to condemn and destroy houses to make room for the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium. In 2006, New York City used eminent domain on land belonging to private businesses in order to make room for construction of a new arena for the New Jersey Nets. Recently, three other major American cities (Sacramento, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.) announced that they are prepared to use eminent domain to build new sports stadiums for their local professional sports teams. While there are a few strategies that property owners could hypothetically use to stop these takings, courts have yet to stop a city from using eminent domain to condemn land for sports stadiums. However, if property owners are willing to settle, these same strategies can help prolong condemnation negotiations, thereby increasing the owners’ potential remunerations.

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