The Chicago Bears leaving Soldier Field has been talked about for decades, but it’s never really felt quite as real as it has the last couple weeks. Ever since news broke that the Bears put a bid in to buy the Arlington International Racecourse property in Arlington Heights, Illinois (a 45ish minute drive from downtown), fans, sports radio, the media, and even the NFL Commissioner has been discussing it.
Couple that with the the recent rumors that the McCaskey family could be looking to sell the team, and if I were a betting man I’d wager that the team will break ground on a state of the art facility in the next few years.
Cor Strategies, which is a political solutions company located just northwest of Arlington Heights in Inverness, recently commissioned an internal poll to check the pulse of people around the Chicagoland area on the possibility of the Bears moving to Arlington Heights.
As you can see, the results in that infographic show that 66% of Chicagoland residents favor the move, while only 23% are against it.
Here’s how the percentages broke down of the more than 1,000 people surveyed.
- Strongly Support - 50%
- Somewhat Support - 16%
- Somewhat Oppose - 7%
- Strongly Oppose - 15%
- Unsure - 11%
And for those wondering, Collin Corbett, a Founding Visionary of Cor Strategies, said the poll went out to “everyone but Packers fans, because no one cares what they think.”
If you’re guessing these results are heavily influenced by suburban responses, you’d be correct. Suburban Cook county residents overwhelmingly support the move, 77% to 16%, with 64% falling in the strongly support category. Collar county residents (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will) are for the move 70% to 19%, with 57% of them strongly in favor.
But what about Chicago residents?
They aren’t quite as opposed as you’d think, as 44% of Chicagoans support the Bears leaving Soldier Field with only 37% against it. Of those anti-move results, 26% are strongly opposed, but 22% of the pro-movers are strongly supportive.
Arlington Heights residents would be fired up to get the Bears, as 83% of them are for the move to just 12% against it.
But what about those respondents that identified as Bears fans? After all, those are the ones that would be going to the games, and would you believe that Chicagoland Bears fans back the move 71% to 21%? Fans of other teams (except Packer fans) support a move 57% to 35%, and even non-NFL fans surveyed support it 33% to 26%.
The demographics are fascinating to me, with none more so than the breakdown by age. I assumed that older residents would rather see things left alone and the tradition of the Bears in Solider Field (since 1971!) kept intact, but the older the respondents got, the more in favor of a move they were.
Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of going to games. It’s just a hassle with getting there, dealing with parking, ticket prices, concession prices, and the potential of weather ruining the experience. But if the Bears moved to a state of the art, retractable roof stadium in Arlington Heights, which would be a closer drive for me, then I’d probably make it a point to get to at least one game a year.
I’m sure the Bears will be polling fans, season ticket holders, and Chicagoland residents at some point, but this data along with the Arlington Heights village board already approving the property to be zoned for a football stadium, and the Bears partnership with Bet Rivers Casino — which is jointly owned by Churchill Downs, who owns the Arlington International Racecourse property — has momentum for a Soldier Field exit strategy building.
“These numbers tell us this should be more than just a negotiating tactic with the city,” Corbett added, “the Bears should strongly consider moving to Arlington Heights.”
What do you guys think?
Vote in our own poll here.
Should the Bears leave Soldier Field for a new stadium in Arlington Heights?
This poll is closed