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Calgary Transit exploring sale of corporate naming rights for lines, stations

You’ve been to the Scotiabank Saddledome and the TD Great Reading Room in our new Central Library, but how would you feel about riding the Coca-Cola Green Line?

The possibility of a corporate entity putting its name on a transit line or station is getting closer to reality because Calgary Transit is now looking for a broker to make those sorts of deals a reality.

The formal request for proposals is now up on the city’s website. Calgary Transit is looking for someone who can provide “valuation of city assets operated by Calgary Transit for the purpose of marketing naming rights for them.”

Transit wants that person or company to also develop of a program to promote the sales of naming rights, and to broker those sales.

Chris Jordan, manager of service design with Calgary Transit, said it’s all about finding a way to offset the cost of transit service without relying on increasing the fare, or dipping into tax coffers.

“As part of that we identified that naming rights and sponsorship is a means to generate additional revenue to offset those costs,” said Jordan.

Exactly what parts of the transit system could bear the names of sponsors remains to be seen, and Jordan said it would be premature to say for certain how it would work without getting the expert advice they’re looking for. But he did say it could be a station, a combination of stations, a transit line or a route.

He said the colour coding of train lines and MAX BRT lines will likely remain.

“I don’t think we’d go so far to make it difficult to use the system,” he said.

Coun. Shane Keating, chair of the city’s Transportation and Transit committee, said the plan is all about capitalizing on the best possibilities.

“The city across the board is looking at naming rights on all facilities that make sense,” said Keating. “The whole idea is you wouldn’t be naming each station a different name. You might have the Green Line South Hill, and then you have a name behind it.”

If they move ahead with the plan, Calgary Transit would be following the lead of US cities that have successfully rebranded transit assets.

In Cleveland, one BRT route dubbed the Healthline is sponsored by a number of University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic.

In Philadelphia, the station serving the South Philadelphia Sports Complex is currently called the NRG Station, named for NRG Energy. It was previously called AT&T Station for a five-year period.