There has been an uproar in the news media recently over Alex Rodriguez‘s admission to using steroids from 2001 through 2003. The issue was even brought up during President Barack Obama’s press conference last week.
Although it is a shame that one of the nation’s leading sports figures has admitted to cheating and taking shortcuts, what is more concerning is the extensive eminent domain abuses over the years that sports teams and cities have engaged in to take short cuts in taking private property. Recent examples of eminent domain authority being used on behalf of stadium owners can be seen in Dallas, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C.
When cities and team owners use eminent domain as a shortcut to build stadiums, they do so at the expense of private home and land owners. Sports economists have estimated that more than half of the stadiums and arenas built after 1990 have involved the use of eminent domain. Other projects simply had the underlying threat of eminent domain at their disposal to force property owners to sell.
There is no doubt that watching sports is one of our leading national pastimes. Many cities have greatly benefited from increased revenues that resulted from the construction of new stadiums or the relocation of sports teams. However great the returns are though, we must keep in mind that eminent domain authority should not apply to private entities or developers.
– Chris Robertson