The MTA, desperate for cash, is open to selling the corporate naming rights to its 468 subway stations.
But don’t expect Times Square to become Walt Disney station anytime soon: Companies may want to think twice before they are associated with the New York City subway system, one marketing expert says.
“Every time the score for the Mets is mentioned, it happens at Citi Field,” said Sam Craig, a marketing professor NYU’s Stern School of Business. “But if you rename a subway station, the only time it gets mentioned is when an accident or crime occurs there.”
The MTA’s recent decision to cut subway and bus service makes it even less desirable place to advertise, he said. “Given the deficit and the cuts in service, you have a lot of people with a negative image of the MTA,” Craig added. “It’s one of these things where corporations tread lightly: You could be spending all this money and it could be hurting you.”
The MTA is leaning toward tacking a corporation name to the end of a station name. Completely renaming the station may confuse riders, say transit advocates.