In an era of unprecedented profitability, expansion, and popularity of American professional sports leagues, it seems outrageous that cities and municipalities across the United States would continue to subsidize the funding of new stadiums for wealthy sports franchises. Yet despite the economic obstacles facing many of these cities and municipalities, the gratuitous public funding of stadiums across the United States persists. This reality stems from the extraordinary bargaining power that professional sports franchises maintain over the cities in which they are located. Indeed, threating to relocate a franchise brings forth a litany of cities that are ready and willing to offer favorable terms to fund a new stadium. Legislative efforts to restrict stadium finance have paradoxically forced municipalities into even less favorable stadium deals that relied on public tax dollars while other efforts to reform stadium financing have failed to gain traction among municipal governments and federal lawmakers. This Note evaluates the various methods of stadium financing by discussing the private and public sources of funding. This Note goes on to evaluate the application of the public purpose doctrine in restricting the issuance of public finance. Finally, this Note explores potential solutions to the challenges that face municipalities when it comes to stadium financing.
Nicholas Baker, Playing a Man Down: Professional Sports and Stadium Finance—How Leagues and Franchises Extract Favorable Terms from American Cities, 59 B.C.L. Rev. 281 (2018), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol59/iss1/7