Sounds Like a Plan: Sell T Station Naming Rights, Then Put 'Massachusetts' Itself in Play

Friday, December 27, 2013

When you ride the MBTA, as I do every day, you can’t help but notice the bad shape our transit system is in. 

The Orange Line, for example, is often brought to a halt at rush hour by a “disabled train up ahead.”   The cars on this line should have been replaced at least ten years ago.

Unfortunately, the T never has enough money.  We’re talking about a public authority that practically invented the term “deferred maintenance.”

Imagine my relief then as I read today that the MBTA will soon earn up to $20 million by selling the naming rights to some of its busiest stations: South Station, North Station, Downtown Crossing, Park Street, Back Bay, State Street, Airport, Boylston, and Yawkey.

I can fault the T only for limiting the initiative to a select group of stations.  In the name of profit, why not put every station name in play?

If there are big bucks to be made in converting a big station like Downtown Crossing to something like Starbucks Crossing, there’s short money in turning a small, quaint station like Brookline Village into something like Acme Check Cashing Village.

For every Trader Joe’s Corner that replaces a Coolidge Corner we should have a Tattoo Island replacing a Wood Island and a Wally’s Roast Beef Station replacing a Wollaston.

It will all add up fast.

If we can double the expected $20 million dollar yield from this project by untethering the names of all the T stations from the history, culture, geography and neighborhoods of Boston, I say do it.

Do we really need stations like “Symphony” and “Museum of Fine Arts” on the Green Line, or “Revere Beach” and “Bowdoin” on the Blue Line, or “Harvard” and “Quincy Adams” on the Red Line?

Yes, it’s nice to have names that pay homage to the unique features of our region and that actually help riders know where they are.   But in these days of austerity we have to ask, Are these old names worth what they’re costing us in lost ad revenue?

The T station naming rights initiative is so in tune with the times that it’s sure to be wildly successful. It will lead in short order, I predict, to a county naming rights sale.

Suffolk County is so old-fashioned, Apple County so next-gen.

And why this blind attachment to “Massachusetts,” an antiquated handle if ever there was one?

Think how much we could make by rebranding our state Wal-Mart Land, Verizon Province, or Burger Kingdom?

The possibilities are endless.

No comments:

Post a Comment