Selling naming rights of subway stations

Toronto Subway Pictures, Images and Photos
For years now I have been saying that cities with subway systems should sell the naming rights of the stations to corporate sponsors. Many cities struggle with funding these crucial transportation systems, often having to increase the fares. The city of Toronto is now talking about doing this, finally. According to the Toronto Star (click here to read it), the city’s contract with their current advertising agency is set to expire at the end of the year, at which point they may look to work on new creative advertising ideas such as naming rights.

I see no reason why not to have companies pay a lot of money to help build, maintain and name subway stations. We already do this with sports arenas and that works very well. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing the train itself be plastered with corporate logos. The current grey is not that pretty anyway. The amount of money these forms of advertising would provide the city every year would likely be enough to ward off fare hikes. It may also improve the quality of the stations because companies would not want their names associated with dirty, smelly subway stations. They would invest money to make sure their named station looks good all the time.

The city of Toronto also happens to be in the beginning phases of a major expansion of their subway system. This is a perfect time to sell the stations’ naming rights and even designs to corporate partners like Wal-Mart and other entities which will be close to a new station. It is a great idea and one which I have yet to see any drawback to. Hopefully the city ends up doing this soon.