ARTICLE: Take Some Land for the Ball Game: Sports Stadiums, Eminent Domain, and the Public Use Debate Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2012 Sports Lawyers Journal
Sports Lawyers Journal

ARTICLE: Take Some Land for the Ball Game: Sports Stadiums, Eminent Domain, and the Public Use Debate

Spring, 2012

Sports Lawyers Journal

19 Sports Law. J. 173


Michael Birch*


I. Introduction
Over the last half-century, governmental bodies have increasingly used the power of eminent domain 1 in order to obtain land to build new sports stadiums. 2 The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the use of eminent domain unless the private property is taken for a public use. 3 Many commentators contend that condemning private property for sports stadiums either fails - or should fail - to meet this public use limitation. 4 This Article examines the public use debate relating to sports stadiums, evaluates arguments for and against such use of eminent domain, and ultimately concludes that eminent domain is justified.

II. Cowboys Stadium: Taking Ground To Break in Arlington
On September 20, 2009, 105,121 National Football League (NFL) fans packed into the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to witness the stadium's inaugural game between the Dallas Cowboys and rival New York Giants. 5 Undoubtedly, fans gawked at the architectural structure surrounding them as they strolled to their seats; Cowboys Stadium is a modern marvel and the pinnacle of sporting venues. 6 It is a state-of-the-art facility, the likes of which is unmatched in the NFL or elsewhere. 7 In a state where "big" is often the goal, Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones accomplished just that.

However, before breaking ground in 2005, a legal battle took place concerning the property on which the stadium stands. 8 In order to construct the facility, the City of Arlington ...
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