For $1 Million, Your Company Can Name an MBTA Station

Next stop: [Your Brand's Name] Station.

By | Boston Daily |

For the low, low price of $1 million, corporations and businesses can slap their name on select MBTA stops or stations, or even name an entire rapid transit line after their brand.

This week the MBTA put out Requests for Proposals for the naming rights on nine stations along the system, which includes Back Bay, Downtown Crossing, Park Street, North Station, State Street, Boylston, South Station, and Yawkey Way.

The asking price to add a moniker to each station starts at $1 million per year, except for Yawkey Way, which starts at $500,000. The contracts would last five years.

The call for interested companies to shell out cash to rename stops and stations also includes an opportunity to have their name on some rapid transit lines—specifically the Red, Blue, and Green Lines.

According to documents, prices vary for each line, but the most expensive starting bid is on the Green Line for $2 million per year.

If a company opts to purchase transit line naming rights, they would have their brand printed on station maps, and on system signage.

The chance to take over the naming rights of certain MBTA properties, under the “Corporate Sponsorship Program,” was a directive of the state legislature as part of an extensive transportation bill passed over the summer.

In Section 75 of the lengthy joint transportation law, the T is required to “issue a request for proposals to sell, license or rent naming or sponsorship rights for all subway, bus or commuter rail stations or other assets operated and owned by the authority,” no later than January 1, 2014.

The sponsorship program is a way to bring in non-fare revenue to help fix up the ailing transit system, and possibly spruce up the stations.

Although only nine stations are being considered at this time, the T is accepting what they call “Expressions of Interest” for those remaining stations not listed in the initial call for submissions.  “If any expression of interest is submitted, we will move forward with a naming rights program for that station,” according to the bid documents.

Of course, there are restrictions on the types of businesses that can come forward and try to put their names on select T properties. The MBTA will not be considering proposals from “adult content” businesses, political parties and messages, gun companies, family names, religious groups, or alcohol, and tobacco brands.

“The MBTA reserves the right to reject any corporate partner that is considered incompatible with the MBTA image at the MBTA’s sole discretion,” the bid documents said.

Under the proposal, if naming rights were purchased by an organization, they would be allowed to host promotional events on site. The name of the company or organization would also be read aloud over the speakers as the train approached the designated stop.

Stops and stations would also include the original name, as to not confuse travelers. For example, if Dunkin Donuts were to purchase the rights to North Station, it would then be called “Dunkin Donuts/North Station.”

Interested parties have until February 27 to submit their proposals and offers.

The T first started exploring the naming rights options in March 2012, when the transportation agency worked with a third-party company to develop a focus group consisting of riders and residents.

  • Tim

    The subway between Park St. and Boylston is the oldest stretch of subway in N. America and naming rights should be completely off limits.

  • Boston Reason

    They should be soliciting corporations to invest big bucks to renovate stations in exchange for exclusive large-scale in-station advertising. Renaming stations is complete nonsense.

  • Missy

    This is ridiculous. I would rather fare increase than this nonsense.

  • Mark

    So, what happens when some big Corp no longer wants to pay? Should we assume that the station names will change from year to year? How stupid is it going to sound when we have to tell out-of-towners that to get to the TD BankNorth Garden, they should get off at Dunkin’ Donuts North Station? Wouldn’t it be great if Boston University shelled out the money to rename the Boston College T stop?

    • Guest

      It’s a set price for five years. They pay once and wait the five years for a renewal or new name. The MBTA needs to find extra funding because the riders don’t want fare increases every year.

  • Bryan James

    I Think if the MBTA wants to increase revenue, then selling naming rights to large companies isn’t the way. I think the T should come up with alternatives to this plan. I think I would rather see a fare increase then seeing major rail stations change their names to something ridiculous and embarrassing to say. It’s time for someone to step up and bail the T out.

    • riannonqas321

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      at here now B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

    • John E

      I completely disagree with you. I’d rather see big corporations names then pay an extra $0.50 round trip. With 240 work days a year, I’ll keep the $120 and learn the new station names.

  • Murphy Smith

    Instead of naming rights, how about corporate sponsorship and all the advertising they want in exchange for keeping the station clean, not smelling of pee, free of trash, vagrants, thugs and other miscreants. T-Station names should simply reflect what is there, i.e State Street, MGH, Downtown Crossing — heck every darn station could be named CVS, DunkinDonuts or Starbucks and no one would know where the heck they were.