April 17th, 2009

Tobin’s Moniker is Up for Sale

By Donna Goodison
Boston Herald

Can you name that bridge?

Looking to generate more non-toll revenue from the Tobin Memorial Bridge, Massport yesterday hired a Wellesley agency to market advertising and sponsorships for the span, including naming rights.

Putting a corporate sponsor’s name on the bridge, which connects Charlestown to Chelsea, won’t necessarily mean dropping “Tobin” from its name, according to Massport CEO Thomas Kinton Jr. Formally called the Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge, the bridge was renamed in 1967 in honor of the former Boston mayor and Massachusetts governor.

“It could be the TD Banknorth Tobin Bridge,” Kinton said, using the bank, which had a deal to put its name on the bridge’s tolls, as an example. “That’s not to say we’re going to get anybody, but it’s certainly something that’s being considered.”

Massport has been open to the possibility of selling naming rights for the bridge in years past but had no takers, and the current economy makes it a tougher sell.

Kinton wouldn’t hazard an estimate of the price such a deal could fetch, saying it would depend on what the market was willing to pay. The bridge gets 72,000 vehicle trips per day.

The three-year contract with Travelers Marketing also allows for the creation of a “Bridge Walk Day,” possibly as a community event or fund-raiser.

Massport reaped $264,910 last year at Logan International Airport from companies including JetBlue [JBLU], Dunkin’ Donuts and ING that paid to have their names and logos wrapped on walkways from the central parking garage to terminals.

The agency is also game to sell naming rights for the airport’s garage and cell-phone waiting lot, where cars picking up passengers can park for up to 30 minutes until they get notice that a flight has arrived. Kinton imagines that a wireless company such as AT&T or Verizon could be interested in attaching their names to the latter, as well as to all the airport signage that directs cars to it.

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