Calgary Transit considering selling corporate naming rights to CTrain stations

Apr 29 2019, 10:25 pm

Imagine seeing signage and hearing automatic voice announcements on the CTrain declare “Tim Hortons Victoria Park/Stampede Station?” How about the “TELUS 1 Street Southwest Station,” or even the “RBC City Hall Station?”

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The City of Calgary is seeking a qualified contractor to provide Calgary Transit with brokering services for a possible corporate naming rights initiative for public transit property.

According to a request for proposal (RFP), the successful proponent will provide a naming rights valuation of Calgary Transit assets, create revenue projections, and develop a program to promote sales of such rights on behalf of the municipal government.

“It’s still very early in the process to determine how much revenue it could generate,” Stephen Tauro, a spokesperson for Calgary Transit, told Daily Hive. “Generating non-fare revenue will help offset the costs associated with operating a transit system.”

Naming rights deals are most often associated with stadiums, and such a practice has been considered by a handful of public transit systems in the United States, particularly cash-strapped agencies.

New York State approved an “adopt-a-station” naming rights program for New York City’s decaying MTA in July 2017, but to date no company has taken the offer to have their name associated with a subway station.

Earlier that same year, the Los Angeles Metro overturned a two-month-old decision to sell naming rights to its subway stations, bus stops, and other transit properties over legal concerns that a company’s business practices or political affiliation could expose the public transit authority to lawsuits.

In the past, the Las Vegas Monorail has been closely associated with corporate sponsors, with branding rights for some stations and trains sold to companies such as Monster Energy and Sprint, for instance.

The recently opened Transbay Transit Center, a US$2.2-billion transit hub with rooftop park in downtown San Francisco, had its naming rights sold to Salesforce over a 25-year-long deal that would have the company pay a total of US$110 million. The transit hub has a footbridge that connects the structure with the new Salesforce office tower.

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