Metro moving forward with naming rights deals

crowds waiting for Metro train
Metro could sell naming rights to its Metrorail stations. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Metro plans to reach a deal to sell naming rights or similar sponsorships, despite a false start in November that happened when the transit agency failed to communicate with key officials.

Metro’s budget plan for the year starting in July assumes the agency will collect $5 million from new sponsorship and naming rights deals, which could include selling the names of stations to private companies, Chief Financial Officer Dennis Anosike said Thursday.

Metro has been considering naming rights deals for stations, lines or even office buildings for several years.

The plan also projects an increases of about $6 million in advertising revenue under a separate new long-term contract finalized Friday.

The contract includes a dramatic expansion of digital advertising screens across the rail system over the next five years, including more large LEDs in busy areas and LCD advertising strips over 24 escalator banks.

Bidders on the contract were asked to include location-based tracking methods in the new systems.

Overall, Metro expects to go from 400 digital ad screens today to 1,900 by 2025. Metro’s advertising contractor gets higher rates for the digital screens.

Under the new deal, Metro will receive $325 million over 10 years plus 70 percent of revenue beyond the base guarantee.

OUTFRONT Media will contribute money toward installation and purchase of the advertising screens.

Even with the projected increases, Metro is still proposing significant cuts to a number of bus routes in the new budget plan.

The Metro Board voted Thursday to set public hearings in February on the budget proposal, which includes the first proposed fare increases in three years, expanded rail service hours, some bus service improvements and other changes.

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