Jun 24, 2009 at 12:59 PM
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Next Stop... Barclays. MTA Sells Naming Rights to Sub Stop

Don't blame NYC straphangers if they start missing their stop - blame the British bank, Barclays. On Wednesday the New York City MTA is expected to approve a $4 million naming rights agreement to add "Barclays" to the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue subway station nearly five years after announcing their intention to do so. The first deal of its kind, if approved today, is valued at $200,000 over 20 years. While this would seemingly open up the MTA to a myriad of possibilities, Barclays' interest in this stop has some direct relevance to a new sports arena going up at nearby Atlantic Yards, which will be named Barclays Center.

Without that direct tie to the stop, branding experts speculate that the naming rights deal wouldn't fly. The NY Times quotes Allen Adamson of Landor, a branding firm:

“To be effective, the viewer needs to understand the relevance of the ad. To rename the 59th and Lex stop the McDonald’s stop — it ain’t going to work. I don’t think it will stick.”

Interestingly, the Times reports that when the MTA came calling in an attempt to rename the stop at Citigroup Field (currently known as Mets/Willet Point) earlier this year, the bank refused to pay the requested rights-fee (a small pittance compared to the $400mm they paid for the park).

"It's always a question of balancing our need for revenue and our stewardship of public space," stated MTA spokesperson Jeremy Soffin.

Here's Lisa Mateo of WPIX reporting on the story:

Will MTA properties be the next naming-rights land grab?