We should be hearing from the RTA soon, presumably once it's finished clapping itself on the back on the successful construction of an interchange, as to the naming of those 23 sponsored railway stations as well as the names of the first two Dubai Metro lines. Yes, the Dubai Metro Naming Rights programme, if the RTA's own documents are to be believed, is about to close its first phase, with the RTA datelining July 15th as the end of the month-long negotiation process with the first tranche of companies that submitted 'Expressions of Interest' or EOIs.
It'll be interesting to see how many of those 250 companies that the RTA claims expressed an interest will come through with the minimum 10 year commitment to Dhs6 million per year (30% up front, if you don't mind!) for the right to have people say they're going to take a train to their brand.
The RTA makes a number of stipulations for companies applying. They must be a company or brand, not a personal/family name, which is interesting if you're Al Futtaim or Al Ghurair or any of Dubai's other major family companies. They must have a presence in the UAE . They have to be financially stable (!) and have no history of fraudulent and/or unethical behaviour (One can only speculate as to what criteria they're going to apply there!) and must not be promoting fags, booze, porn or gambling. So Playboy Junction isn't going to happen.
Additionally, it is 'desirable' that companies have a 'commitment to Dubai', have a CSR policy in place or in process, should ideally 'fit' with the location and, if international, should be a Fortune 1000 company and be a 'multi-cultural organisation'.
The ham-fisted attempt above to try and define the 'right sort of company' that Dubai would want splashed all over its Metro system is one of many interesting areas to the whole scheme. We wouldn't want anybody 'wrong' to be splurged all over the city, now would we?
I can't wait for the list of applicants. We can only hope there has been no delay in finding 23 of the 'right sort of companies' out of that avalanche of 250 expressions of interest. I suppose we'll know soon enough when we start to see the 'RTA struggles under five billion applications, extends deadline' releases. Or, alternatively, when we see a list of our new landmarks to be.