Cincinnati Bell will pay $3.4 million over the next 10 years for naming rights to Cincinnati's streetcar system, which is set to begin operating on Sept. 9.
The agreement will provide $340,000 a year to help pay for streetcar operations – minus the commission that goes to the company which negotiated the contract with Cincinnati Bell.
The 3.6 mile streetcar system, which runs from Over-the-Rhine to the riverfront, has an estimated $4 million annual operating cost.
Cincinnati Bell's contract, negotiated by Advertising Vehicles, a national ad sales company based in Cincinnati, will change the look of the streetcars people have been seeing tested along the route recently.
It will even mean a new name for the system – The Cincinnati Bell Connector
The look of the streetcars will change, with Cincinnati Bell graphics on the front, back and top of the streetcars, and on the inside as well.
The current logo will no longer be used and the streetcar stations will be re-branded as "Cincinnati Bell stations."
"We look forward to a long and productive partnership with Cincinnati Bell on the Cincinnati Bell Connector and thank them for their continued commitment to the city of Cincinnati,'' City Manager Harry Black said in a news release. "Similarly, we thank our partners at SORTA and Advertising Vehicles who helped make this agreement possible."
Ted Torbeck, Cincinnati Bell's CEO, said in the same SORTA release that the Cincinnati Bell Connector "will play an important role in connecting residents, workers and visitors to their jobs and the tremendous entertainment opportunities from The Banks to Over-the-Rhine."
Cincinnati Bell has the naming rights contract, but a number of other businesses have recently agreed to buy advertising inside and outside the streetcars, including the University of Cincinnati's Lindner College of Business, Rhinegeist, Richter & Phillips Jewelers, Four Entertainment Group, Taste of Belgium, Tom + Chee, and Kerry Toyota.