Selling Naming Rights Helps Transit Stay in the Game

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Heather Redfern - Also by this author

Across the country, limited capital budgets are forcing transit agencies to find creative ways generate revenue to address their perpetually growing list of needs. Every dollar counts.

RELATED: Transit systems find creative ways to generate revenue

Selling naming rights for properties (and routes, like Cleveland’s HealthLine) is one option for generating new income. In Philadelphia, SEPTA just announced its second station renaming — Jefferson Station (formerly Market East), which serves SEPTA’s Regional (commuter) Rail in downtown Philadelphia. In 2010, SEPTA and AT&T entered a five-year, $5 million agreement for the former Pattison Avenue Station on the Authority’s Broad Street (subway) Line in South Philadelphia’s Sports Complex area.

The Jefferson renaming is the result of a five-year, $3.9 million agreement between Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (a Philadelphia health system and medical school located three blocks from the train station) and Titan, the leading transit advertising agency in the country. SEPTA has a contract with Titan to generate additional operating revenue for the Authority by bringing in advertising dollars and negotiating station naming rights. State lawmakers, in passing recent legislation for transportation funding in Pennsylvania, have called on SEPTA and other transit agencies to bolster efforts to generate non-fare box revenues.

 “These naming agreements deliver major benefits to our customers and other taxpayers who help fund the Authority’s operations,” said SEPTA GM Joseph Casey. “The advertising income generated goes directly toward the everyday costs of running the transit system.” In fact, 100 percent of the Jefferson revenue goes into maintaining the station and SEPTA already has begun making improvements to lighting on the concourse and platform levels, cleaning the ceilings, installing new signs and developing plans for a new restroom. 

The naming rights not only bring revenue for the Authority, they also deliver a large audience for the partner organization. Approximately 26,000 rail customers use Jefferson Station every weekday. Add to that the thousands of passengers that use the adjacent Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines and 10 bus routes, and the millions that will see the station name on SEPTA maps, and Jefferson has increased its brand reach infinitesimally.

“The partnership with Jefferson speaks volumes about SEPTA’s reputation and role as a driver of the economy that one of the region’s most respected organizations is partnering with SEPTA in such a prominent way,” said SEPTA Chairman Pasquale T. “Pat” Deon.

SEPTA’s current naming agreements are most likely the first of several, as the Authority is open to discussing rights for stations and transportation route/lines with most organizations, within reason. The names should be succinct and SEPTA would use professional judgment in any decision and will not entertain station naming which would be offensive to our customers and the region we serve.   


      

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