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Evans Bank wins naming rights for Metro Rail's Lafayette Square Station

Evans Bancorp could not have chosen a better spot to promote its new downtown branch at Lafayette Square than – well – Lafayette Square.

The Southtowns-based bank and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced an agreement in principle Thursday to name Metro Rail’s Lafayette Square Station the “Evans Bank @ Lafayette Square Station.” It marks the second Metro Rail stop in downtown Buffalo to brandish a new corporate name and logo after the authority last October awarded naming rights for the current Erie Canal Harbor Station to Seneca Gaming Corp. That station will eventually be rebranded as “Buffalo Creek Casino at Canalside.”

Now Evans Bank will welcome its customers to the new downtown branch it opened last October in the Main-Court Building at Lafayette Square with its “own” Metro Rail station.

“At Evans, we believe strongly in public-private partnerships and this one is truly a win-win,” said David J. Nasca, Evans Bank president and CEO. “This agreement reinforces our downtown presence and allows the public to enjoy an updated and refreshed station in a highly trafficked downtown corridor.”

The agreement with an option to renew is projected to provide the NFTA with $160,874 in revenue over a five-year term and $351,941 if extended to 10 years. It also calls for naming and signage rights at both inbound and outbound stations, displaying the Evans logo prominently atop the stations and ticket machines “refreshed in Evans orange.”

Additional branding will appear on station shelter signs and maps, internal digital and audio message boards, online and digital schedules and in three rail cars.

“The new naming rights agreement is yet another example of Evans Bank’s commitment to the Western New York Community,” said Sister Denise Roche, NFTA chairwoman. “We are excited and appreciative because this will provide us with a creative source of revenue and help us continue to maximize public transportation and better connect our community.”

The NFTA began exploring the idea in 2016 by hiring Superlative Group consultants to recruit area companies. The idea is similar to much larger deals resulting in the Buffalo Bills’ New Era Field, the Buffalo Sabres’ KeyBank Center and the Buffalo Bisons’ Sahlen Field.

As Metro Rail stations age following their opening in the mid-1980s, NFTA Executive Director Kimberley A. Minkel has previously indicated that naming rights will provide a new stream of revenue for rehabilitation and improvements.

“Our stations are now over 30 years old and looking a little tired and worn,” she said in 2016. “This is a way to generate revenue to be put back specifically into those assets, improving the customer experience and the image, and helping us repair and maintain them.”

Minkel said the volume of passengers passing through stations every day creates a valuable asset for advertisers.

Metro buses and trains have featured interior and exterior advertising in various forms for years. Lamar Advertising in past years has paid the NFTA almost $1 million for ads in bus shelters, on the sides and inside of buses and trains as well as in rail stations.

Transit agencies around the country also have embraced the concept in recent years. Philadelphia established AT&T Station near the city’s sports complex in a deal that will generate $5 million over five years for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority negotiated $4 million in naming rights for its subway station at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. And Cleveland hospitals and Cleveland State University will generate $17 million in revenue over 25 years for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

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