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Thinking about expanding the naming rights offerings

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA’s decision, announced two weeks ago at the agency’s last board meeting, to sell the naming rights at the Atlantic Ave./Pacific St. subway station to the Barclays Center has sparked some interesting debate. Some think the MTA is sacrificing ease of system use while others — including me — have no problem with it as long as the corporate name is attached to the station and does not replace the geographic identifiers. Either way, the transit agency and other cash-strapped government entities throughout the country are thinking about expanding the naming rights program.

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation are pondering the move, and the MTA will continue to be aggressive in its pursuit of corporate advertising dollars. After all, the authority has seen ad revenue jump from $30 million in the mid-1990s to $120 million in 2008. Advertising Age explored the thinking behind these deals in a piece last week. Until transit authorities are properly funded, these naming rights deals and other station-wide advertising efforts may just be a necessary fiscal evil.

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rhywun July 6, 2009 - 9:51 pm

I don’t care about ads in the stations or on the trains–those change frequently and are more or less open to anyone. It’s when you start messing around with the map that it gets ridiculous. A station name is supposed to be constant. What happens when a bigger shark buys out Barclays? Oh, let’s change the name again.

Benjamin Kabak July 6, 2009 - 9:53 pm

I don’t get this whole “messing around with the map” line of reasoning. The subway map has not been constant over the years. Station names change as the city changes.

Meanwhile, what’s the big deal if the Atlantic Ave./Pacific St./Barclays Center stop becomes Atlantic Ave./Pacific St./Goldman Sachs Center in 10 years? The defining characteristics are still there, and the MTA isn’t going to give up that part of the station name.

Rhywun July 7, 2009 - 10:27 am

Corporate names change much more frequently than street names. I think the system is already more complicated to use than it should be. Why introduce even more complexity for the sake of a token boost in revenue?

herenthere July 6, 2009 - 11:02 pm

How ’bout “McDonalds I’m Lovin’ It Mets/Willets Point”?
or “Macy’s 34th St/Herald Square” would sound more appropriate…

Matt July 7, 2009 - 9:55 am

I don’t have any problems with “Atlantic Ave-Pacific St-Barclays Center” because that station actually will provide access to a major landmark known as the Barclays Center. I also wish Citibank had been willing to pony up for “Willets Point-Citi Field” — that would’ve provided a smooth transition from the semantic sense of “Willets Point-Shea Stadium”.

I would not be okay with “McDonalds I’m Lovin’ It Mets/Willets Point”. I don’t even know if I’d be ok with “34 St-Herald Sq-Macys” or “Times Sq-42 St-Disney” since those are just businesses, not a major public landmarks (debatable, but just my opinion).


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