Transport for London (TfL) has failed to find a replacement sponsor for its cable car in east London as its £36million contract with Emirates comes to an end.
TfL began the hunt last December for a company to take over the naming and branding rights for the cars and stations, as well as to be featured on the London Tube Map, which has more than 3,000 locations in the capital.
TfL had requested that all tender submissions be made by February 22 and planned to assess them in March before a winning bid was announced in June.
The former sponsor Emirates had spent £3.6m a year over the 10-year term of his contract. In a post-pandemic era with fewer commuters using the service, however, TfL would have been resigned to getting just a fraction of that figure from a new sponsor.
Danny Price, TfL’s managing director for sponsored services, played down the impact on The Drum earlier this year, pointing out the cable car had ‘had a revival’, in part thanks to social media stars using its ‘private cabins’ for photo shoots and inspiring tourists. Do the same thing.
Despite promising to feature in TikTok videos and Instagram posts, the submission deadline passed without a single expression of interest.
“The search for a new cable sponsor is ongoing and we continue to engage the marketplace for a new business partner who shares an ambition to build on its success and help maintain its position as the one of the best things to do in London,” said TfL cable car manager Josh Crompton.
“We know that our customers enjoy the unique experience and spectacular views the cable car provides, which is demonstrated by the fact that it is highly rated on tourist attraction sites and the number of passengers is always raised. The Town Hall move to the Crystal will add another attraction to the area and we remain committed to building on the success of the cable car with a new partner later this year.
The deal with Emirates will end in June when its brand is removed from stations and cars.
Drum asked TfL about contingency plans for the naming and branding of the cars if it failed to secure a sponsor by the time Emirates exits, but was unable to comment.