Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NYC MTA sells subway station naming rights

The MTA sold the naming rights to a busy subway station in Brooklyn to Barclay's Bank. If the Nets ever build their arena and start playing nearby, this won't be terrible as the arena will be Barclay's Arena. Regardless of the value of the advertising, I think this can potentially diminish the ease of using the system and create too much confusion. This is particularly true as many of the naming rights deals never reach the end of the contract. It is not assured that Barclay's will even exist in 20 years.

But even the advertising people don't like it:

"Still, while selling station names could bring the authority revenue it needs, advertising experts say companies may not be as well-served.

“To be effective, the viewer needs to understand the relevance of the ad,” said Allen Adamson of Landor, a branding firm. “To rename the 59th and Lex stop the McDonald’s stop — it ain’t going to work. I don’t think it will stick.”

Indeed, other cities have tried this with little success. Boston, for example, tried auctioning off four historic stations a few years ago and received no bids. Though Citigroup paid $400 million to sponsor the new Mets stadium in Queens, the company refused to pay the authority to rename the stop nearby, which is now known as Mets/Willets Point."

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