MBTA may sell station names

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MBTA may sell station names

Postby Teamdriver » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:12 am

What's next, employees with sponsor patches on their uniforms like Nascar racers?
'' Executives from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority presented a plan Tuesday to the agency’s financing board to begin selling naming rights for 11 stations, including Downtown Crossing, Park Street, and Back Bay. Ultimately, the T would endeavor to put station names up for bid systemwide, making it, along with Chicago’s transit authority, one of only two in the nation with such a plan.''
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... News_links
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby jaymac » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:59 am

Under the MassDOT wing, everything will become a variation of Adopt-A-Highway. There, however, could be a secondary market here: "I Was Taken for a Ride, and All I Got Was the Lousy Naming Rights to (Fill in the Blank)" tee-shirts.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby Teamdriver » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:20 am

I wonder if George Steinbrenner was still alive if he would bite for " Yankee who's your daddy Yawkey Station?
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby TomNelligan » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:43 am

There's nothing left in America that's not for sale to corporations these days, as evidenced by all the awkward and ever-changing names of sports stadiums and concert venues, so why not subway stations. At least the T plans to retain the historical names with the corporate name appended. Earlier this summer I experienced "AT&T Station" in Philadelphia, the terminus of the Broad Street subway line and known from the time it was built until recently as Pattison Avenue. There is no longer any reference to the geographical or historical name, which has got to be confusing to tourists (especially if they're expecting to find a big telephone company headquarters there, as opposed to the Philly sports complex).
Last edited by TomNelligan on Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby djimpact1 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:11 am

This is nothing new, and shouldn't surprise anyone at this point. In fact, there was already a thread created a year ago on this topic at viewtopic.php?f=65&t=84250&start=0&hilit=naming

This was a high-profile topic around the time the T was initially addressing the inevitable budget crisis (after not being able to avoid talking to the public about it any longer), with subsequent public meetings around the state.

Personally speaking, I think it's an idea that is a step in the right direction, if utilized properly. I believe there should be a moderately long-term commitment for any contract drawn up for willing participating corporations. I would hope the MBTA would maintain control of their naming rights options though.

My ideal scenario I'm picturing is (per station), a 5-year contract with a corporation for a set amount, with the MBTA having an option at the end of 5 years to renew the contract for another 3 - 4 years with a 10% decrease in cost to the corporation. This way, it encourages a corp. to renew w/ less of a price tag to them, while the T still gets cash coming in (consider it a "loyalty discount"), and keeping a long-term business relationship. If the T feels the need to turn away a corporation after the 5 year contract (for whatever reason), they can choose not to renew, allowing the station to either revert back to its original corporate-less name or negotiate a better contract with an alternate corporation for the next 5 years.

What I DON'T LIKE in the Boston Globe article is the following from Assistant General Manager for Development Mark Boyle: "With the infusion of money, the T could upgrade WiFi on the commuter rail, improve access for the visually impaired, and upgrade the stations’ aesthetics" WHAATTT?!?! With the forthcoming cuts in service coming into place within a few days (due to their financial mess), why would ANYONE from the T think that incoming funds should be applied towards upgrading Wi-Fi or station aesthetics? The first thing that at least 75% of the potential incoming money from selling naming rights should be applied towards is PAYING THEIR DEBT! Since a significant amount of it was inherited, I would want to get that big grey cloud gone from over my head, instead of trying to mask it.

It's no wonder at this point why the T can't fully put their financial woes to blame on the Big Dig only. "Hey, we finally got some cash. Should we pay some of that millions of debt off we got stuck with? Nah...let's use it to repaint the walls & install new seating." Holy *bleep*.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:53 am

This was done with "State/CitizensBank" in 2000.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby 3rdrail » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:41 am

I have two major problems with this selling out of Boston's station names. First, it's a problem with consistency which may be confusing to the occasional tourist or visitor. The station that they used to get to a desired location may be a differently named station the second time around, and secondly, and probably more importantly, of all places, Boston, with it's emphasis on history, should maintain historically consistant station names when at all possible. Obviously, as was the case of Scollay Square, sometimes this didn't work, but as we are seeing there, what goes around, comes around !
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby djimpact1 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:52 pm

3rdrail wrote:...it's a problem with consistency which may be confusing to the occasional tourist or visitor. The station that they used to get to a desired location may be a differently named station the second time around

Yes, a station name could be altered, but won't be completely replaced. If someone is confused between "Downtown Crossing" and "Macy's - Downtown Crossing", or "Park Street" and "Target - Park Street" then there might be some issues with the confused person, not with the MBTA.

Concerning tourists, they will just need to become accustomed to an altered station name...not a completely new name with no signs of previous identification. It's not as though the location of the stations themself will change...the subway will still run the same routes with the same stations.

3rdrail wrote:...probably more importantly, of all places, Boston, with it's emphasis on history, should maintain historically consistant station names when at all possible.

That leads to a debate of "What makes a station name 'historical'?", or "What makes a certain station 'historical'?" There are obvious stations which would undoubtedly be deemed "historical", but that might be even more of a selling point to a corporation paying out $ to the T, and why should the T sacrifice that opportunity?

At this point, I could express the opinion that I don't think "Washington" (used for nearly 80 years) should've been renamed "Downtown Crossing" or "Auditorium" (used for 25 years) should've been renamed Hynes Convention Center, but with time comes change...some necessary, some not. When it comes to ensuring the T has some financially feasible plan for the near future, I'll take "Best Buy - Government Center" over (hypothetically) no weekend E-branch service.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:07 pm

TomNelligan wrote:There's nothing left in America that's not for sale to corporations these days, as evidenced by all the awkward and ever-changing names of sports stadiums and concert venues, so why not subway stations. At least the T plans to retain the historical names with the corporate name appended. Earlier this summer I experienced "AT&T Station" in Philadelphia, the terminus of the Broad Street subway line and known from the time it was built until recently as Pattison Avenue. There is no longer any reference to the geographical or historical name, which has got to be confusing to tourists (especially if they're expecting to find a big telephone company headquarters there, as opposed to the Philly sports complex).

And that was something AT&T insisted on -- no nonsense about "AT&T / Pattison" or "AT&T / Sports Complex." They wanted nobody's name on it but theirs, and they got it -- for $5 million, I think. (If Verizon or Comcast buys AT&T, does that mean SEPTA gets another $5 million?) I would say that at a minimum, Boston should insist on retaining an element in the name that shows what station it actually is.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby NRGeep » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:58 pm

Kendall/Legal Seafood, Central Sq/The Middle East, Needham/Raytheon, State St/Fidelity...I'm done.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby Elcamo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:41 pm

I'm perfectly fine with hyphenated names, although I'm not sure how much my opinion matters....

Would it be possible to put ads on the outside of trains? (Like they do with buses) Has this been done before, and would it be worth it?
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:55 pm

Elcamo wrote: Would it be possible to put ads on the outside of trains? (Like they do with buses) Has this been done before, and would it be worth it?


They have shrink wrapped subway cars, LRVs, and coaches, but those aren't terribly common.

Other than that, the Green Line is one of the few with exterior ads. But those are also seen by alot of street traffic when they're running down the streets.
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby Type7trolley » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:48 pm

Elcamo wrote: Would it be possible to put ads on the outside of trains? (Like they do with buses) Has this been done before, and would it be worth it?

Building on that, I think it would make more sense to have sponsored cars than stations. I think this idea might've been brought up in the previous sponsorship thread. The advertising in a car could be exclusively bought out by one sponsor, with the possibility of exterior shrink wrapping cars as well. For example, instead of "State/Citizen's bank", you'd have the Citizen's bank car. This would have the benefit of being easier to implement as it's harder to change the signage of an entire station, especially the sprawling major ones like DTX ( and even then the maps through the rest of the system wouldn't display the sponsored name ). Plus it wouldn't risk confusing tourists or altering historic names. We've already seen how annoying repeated name changes can be with the Fleet-Banknorth-Garden-TD-Center, now just imagine that with every major station. A subway car is nameless by default, so you're not really taking anything away. In addition, there are a great deal more cars on the system then stations, opening up more potential customers. A business might be quicker to sponsor a car then an entire station, just as sponsoring a stadium is a much greater investment than a billboard. I might even go as far as to say "themed" cars could make the ride a bit more interesting if they're done well. I know some of us were on the lookout for the Metro PCS wrapped 01800 when that was new, this would just be building on that idea.

As a side note, HBO did this with some of the MTA's heritage fleet in NYC, and it proved wildly successful:
http://www.psfk.com/2011/09/hbo-promotes-boardwalk-empire-with-vintage-subway-cars-in-new-york-city.html
I know it's apples to oranges as they had the benefit of historic equipment, but hey, maybe it's time to get that 01400 work train running again ;)
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby RedLantern » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:48 am

What if some local historical societies and clubs were to do some fundraising and purchase the naming rights themselves? What if Government Center was renamed "Scollay Under" for a month or so?

We could take this a step further by paying for the shrink wrapping on the cars, imagine a commuter train of B&M coaches from roster shots behind a roster shot of a B&M steamer?
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Re: MBTA may sell station names

Postby jr145 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:41 am

You would need to do a LOT of fundraising to be able to pull off something like that. Unless you find a rich railfan that wants to fund it.
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