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