Valley METRO Light Rail
METRO is a 20 mile light rail line connecting Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. Part of the regional public transit system, operations commenced in December 2008 with trains running on the center of city streets, similar to other US light rail systems. Funded by local, regional and federal sources, the line operates up to 20 hours a day with a ridership of almost 11.4 million passengers in 2009, surpassing projections by 45%. A non-profit public corporation governed by the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, Peoria and Chandler, six additional line extensions are planned by 2031.
METRO contracted The Seidman Institute to research the sale of naming rights as a means of maximizing non-fare revenue for the current 20 mile route. Three options were initially suggested for the scope of this market value analysis:
- All-encompassing package – an exclusive option for a single national or multi-national organization to sponsor the entire METRO operation.
- Light rail line package – a smaller, single sponsor opportunity to rename the actual line, brand vehicles and feature on station signage, printed collateral and the website.
- Station-only package – an opportunity for multiple companies to rename individual stations along the current 20-mile route.
Working in partnership with The Superlative Group of Cleveland Ohio, The Seidman Institute developed an objective means of valuing these opportunities, and also proposed an action plan to maximize revenue within this area. Project work commenced in May 2010, with the final report presented to METRO senior management and City of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa officials in September 2010.