From heat lamps to recycle bins: CTA gets serious about naming rights

The Macy’s Holiday Train?

Bud Light’s New Year’s Eve Penny Rides?

Waste Management CTA Recycling Bin?

Maybe not yet, but more corporate sponsors will soon be putting their names on valuable CTA assets – and maybe some not as valuable – after the transit agency’s board approved a contract to explore more sponsorships and naming rights.

IMG International will get no upfront money to research the viability of naming rights and corporate sponsorships for various CTA assets and properties, according to a CTA press release. “If sponsorships are secured and approved by the Chicago Transit Board, IMG will be compensated strictly by commission and on a graduated percentage scale depending on the value of the sponsorship transaction,” said the CTA in the release.

The CTA already has identified the following as its most valuable assets:

  • Bus Tracker
  • Train Tracker
  • The Holiday Train
  • The New Year’s Eve penny rides program

But there are plenty of other assets IMG will put out feelers for naming rights, including:

  • The CTA website
  • Rail stations
  • Winter heat lamps
  • Recycle bins

IMG will conduct a three-part process to determine how the CTA can best position itself to entertain offers from private companies, said the release:

  1. Identify which CTA assets are marketable.
  2. Evaluate the market value of the properties.
  3. Develop Requests for Proposals to solicit sponsorships.



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  • The Barcalounger longitudinal seats.

    Just as bad ump calls on Sox telecasts were sponsored by the Institute for Low Vision, some halfway house or psychiatric unit could sponsor most of anything associated with the CTA.

    Not to mention"Buy Pat Quinn bonds," [so gov. protoplasm can "refinance the debt" or the RTA won't get its money] turnstiles. I still think they should put video poker machines in each car and bus, and the money gets plowed back into the system, but, in any event the video poker industry could sponsor the casino special to the River Road station. For that matter to further help the system, there should be [whatever liquor Wirtz distributes] "green" clean up buckets or 4 a.m. bus.

    You know where you can send the commission.

  • Target Red Line. UPS Brown Line. Susan G Komen Pink Line. Pabst Blue Ribbon Line. Minute Maid Orange Line. Chiquita Yellow Line. Whole Foods Green Line.

  • By all means, the CTA ought to explore new revenue streams. Including sponsorships. Can’t really top Cheryl’s ideas. But I will be sad if the Holiday (Santa) Train ever gets branded. It is such a wonderful, non-commercial gift – including all the ingenious reindeer and elf ads. If Macy’s or anyone else chooses to support the train, I hope they will have the grace to keep their names off the train, itself.

  • The Jerry Springer trash bin.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:


    Maybe even the Steve Wilkos CTA patrol (or the shanty where the patrol officers hang out).

    In fact the reader who suggested that blogging cures everything should sponsor the blue newspaper recycling boxes, to direct traffic.

  • I personally don't have a problem with any of the four top items mentioned, especially the Holiday Train. I immediately thought of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, although that's a slightly different situation because the parade is "indigenous" to Macy's.

    I think when corporate sponsorship/naming interferes with navigation, that becomes a problem. I guess if you combined sponsorship and navigational names, something like Apple-North/Clybourn or Wrigley-Grand (well, they moved, but you get the idea), it'd be workable, but a station named solely for a corporate entity seems undesirable.

  • In reply to andrewesque:

    Well, there was the guy with the map indicating that the 3 Pulaski stops should be changed to Mrs. T's Pierogis or something like that. I guess you wouldn't go for that.

    For that matter Sox and IIT should be charged for naming those two 35th stations, and whoever runs the Medical Center for that one.

  • Cubs - Addison

  • In reply to mikep621:

    As implied by my Sox post, Ricketts is too cheap to pay for what he can get for free. Maybe he can install troughs in the cars and sponsor that.

    For that matter, I don't see the "ride the [NABI] 154 bus to Wrigley" ads any more.

  • Last fall when they came up with this idea, it was clear that the CTA was going for whole L lines, bus routes or a single station to be renamed and the bids were requested. Apparently, no one has stepped up to take those. Even Apple, which paid for the rehab of the North/Clybourn stop and gets naming dibs, didn't step forward for full naming rights.

    Regarding Macy's: In 2006, they sponsored the 3rd of July fireworks here in Chicago. Then they backed out. Yet, their 4th of July fireworks in NYC are bigger than ever.

    Regarding Jack's comments about the "Medical Center" stop on the Blue Line, it's been renamed "Illinois Medical District" for several years now, in support of the state's encouraging more and more medical facilities to located and concentrate there. Right now it's UI Hospital, Rush, Jesse Brown V.A. and others. A lot of those institutions are governmental.

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