Hey Chicago: Your Daily Commute Might Look Like A College Bowl Game Soon

Chicago Tribune – In its second effort this week to drum up more money that doesn’t come from the farebox, the CTA on Friday said it is seeking formal bids for corporate naming rights to several major untapped assets.

They include the CTA Bus Tracker and Train Tracker, the CTA Holiday Train, New Year’s Eve Penny Rides and a program offering free rides on the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools students.

Earlier this week, the CTA board voted to end a 15-year ban on alcoholic beverage advertisements on the CTA system. Alcohol ads will now be allowed on CTA trains and at some rail stations, but not on buses. The new ads will bring in to the transit agency more than $1 million a year under the current contract, and millions more under future advertising contracts.

The CTA’s search for corporate naming rights sponsorships is being conducted through IMG, a business development consultant. Bids are due by noon on April 20, the CTA said.

This whole story is kind of analogous to the CTA going to their storage shed and saying, “Now, what the hell do we have in here that’s worth anything?” You talk about municipalities and programs that are running on empty. I give you Chicago. What the heck, I say. Just do it. Just like I’m for the lottery. Aid the coffers any way we can, and let business and the hopeless finance it. One of my favorite comments on the lottery was by my late father. “It’s the only thing out there where you’re chances of winning don’t increase if you decide to play.” That’s about right I figure.

This naming rights thing is different though, as it has a possibility of just being absolutely laughable and embarrassing. I hope they extend the naming rights to that of naming the transportation lines. Now, that would be great:

“Hi, I’m from out of town, and haven’t been here in years. I was curious fine chap, how do you get from O’hare here, to that of the Drake Hotel? Is it the Red line, or was it the Brown line?”

“Nahh man. You gotta take the ‘NorthernTrust.comLowLowRates Line’. Then, you get off walk a few blocks, and take the ‘ValvolineOilChange.com bus’. Finally, just grab the ‘HashtagSvedkaVodkaLikeUsAtFacebook Line’.”

This is going to be awesome. Thanks CTA, Chicago, and Chapter 11.

Look people. It’s ads everywhere, or it’s Japan. They don’t have ads on their crappy trains, and see how many people they need on there in order to make budget. You either have “Hashtag.comLikeUs Line” or you get pushed on to the Purple line next commute by six guys from Hokkaido. Maybe you like that kind of thing you sickies.

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