As reports about the pending corporate sponsorship of Tube stations in London continue to pile up, and as I increasingly have conversations with assorted cities regarding their assets and strategies, it would seem an inevitability that in the next 5 years we are going to see a lot more deals done.
If you stop to think about the size, location and variability of the owned assets in a city like London or Toronto, it is staggering. Not only physical sites, but activities and festivals as well. Subways appear to be on the radar currently in TO due to it being the second largest line item on the city’s budget (behind Police) and the current acceptance of advertising within the system. Why not go one step further and either have presenting sponsors for stations (think: Queen Station, Brought to you by Proctor and Gamble) or outright names changes (Microsoft Station). I have to admit that the latter seems like it’s going to far, but the possibility for branding, activation and leverage are huge, if you rolled in social media and on-site activity.
The secret would be, of course, in the ability to find”fit” and to make the partnership feel authentic, in that the sponsor has a connection to those who use the Subway. (as opposed to a car company, which wouldn’t make as much sense)
Now extrapolate into sports facilities, parks, roads, trails(The Nike Beltline Trail). If people and companies can sponsor a kilometer of highway, or MLSE can sponsor ice rinks, why not the rest? As long as it’s done in an appropriate manner, with some control on the risk of over commercialization, why not? We have a moral dilemma all of a sudden?
The possibilities are endless…