The Highest Bidder
Update 07/08/09: New York’s MTA today sold the naming rights of its Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street subway station in Brooklyn to the British bank Barclays. The $4 million deal precedes the completion of the Barclays Center, a sports arena set to open in the next few years.
Planetizen pointed out a thought-provoking story about (Arizona) Metro’s Rail Management Committee’s proposal to auction off light rail station naming rights to bring in revenue. Apparently, something similar has been done before by transit agencies in other locations. One place sold the right to name an entire bus line (“Healthlink”) to two hospitals along the route.
It’s an interesting thought. Do you think that public agencies should sell naming rights to commercial entities or other interested groups? After all, we don’t have a “Rams Dome” here, we have the Edward Jones Dome. And the ScottTrade Center. Educational institutions name buildings after benefactors; museums name new wings or improvements after large donors. One issue I could think of re: naming a bus route is, what if the bus route changes? Is there a limit on how long the agency promises to keep that line in operation and with that name? After all, we don’t know exactly what transit needs will exist twenty or fifty years from now; so any sale would have to take into account the transit agency’s need to tweak routes.
Tell me what you think: Should transit agencies consider selling their naming rights to bring in extra cash? And if so, how much should a light rail station name fetch on the auction block?