CTA to look for corporate sponsors for buses, trains

November 11, 2010

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Chicago Transit Authority riders might be seeing the Addison Red Line stop brought to you by the Chicago Cubs soon. The CTA is looking for corporate sponsors for its trains, buses and "el" stops.

A CTA spokeswoman says it hopes to get sponsorship deals by spring. The transit agency will be looking for a consulting firm to find a corporate sponsor for something as big as, say, the naming rights to the Red Line.

Charlie Wheelan, an economist at the University of Chicago, said, "You've got to look at this deal not relative to whether you like it or not, but what are the alternatives? Would you prefer higher fares? Would you prefer less service? Would you prefer higher taxes?"

Wheelan said CTA passengers are an advertisers dream: people standing around with not much to do. He said the sponsors are likely to be companies targeting the young urban professional demographic. "My guess is high tech firms, computer electronics," he said.

The CTA hasn't put a dollar figure on how much it can make in sponsorship deals.

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