Tube stations could be renamed as part of plans proposed by the Tory candidate for mayor of London for a £ 100million-a-year sponsorship deal to boost investment in the capital’s public transport network .
According to Shaun Bailey’s plans, companies would have the option of bidding on renaming stations in a new advertising campaign inspired by the Dubai Metro.
The plans could see Knightsbridge Station renamed after Harrods, while Oxford Circus would be sponsored by brands with flagship stores nearby, such as Nike.
Mr Bailey believes the initiative will raise up to half a billion pounds over five years for Transport for London (TfL), which he says has been left in a ‘mess’ and with’ levels of ‘record debt’ by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
It comes a week after TfL revealed that its advertising revenue fell 90% in the first quarter of the fiscal year, with bosses warning that the coronavirus pandemic had caused a “catastrophic impact” on the business.
In Dubai, the branding of 21 new resorts across the network has raised over £ 300million, with 10-year sponsorship agreements now in place with companies such as Emirates, First Gulf Bank and Dubai Healthcare City.
Spain’s capital Madrid has also started to embrace sponsorship in recent years, with Samsung signing a three-month deal to rename the station Puerta del Sol and Vodafone sponsoring an entire metro line over three years.
In New York, station sponsorship has been in use since 1977, with naming rights sold throughout the subway network.
However, Mr Bailey says the size of the London Underground network – which has more than four times as many stations as Dubai – means TfL could generate significantly higher revenue.