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Press Release

NYCEDC Seeks Sponsorship Agency Consultant to Secure First-Ever Naming Rights Brand Partnership for NYC Ferry

Jun 25 2024
An orange and blue ferry labeled "BRAND BOAT" cruises under the Brooklyn Bridge with the New York City skyline in the background on a sunny day.

Selection of a Sponsorship Consultant is the First Step in Finding a Brand Partner to Support the Growth and Sustainability of NYC Ferry for Years to Come

Securing a Brand Sponsor Was a Key Component of Mayor Adams’ NYC Ferry Forward Plan to Build a More Equitable, Accessible, and Financially Sustainable Ferry System

NEW YORK, NY—Today, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced the release of a request for proposals (RFP) for a sponsorship agency consultant that will help secure NYC Ferry’s first-ever naming rights sponsorship with a brand partner. Naming rights sponsorship is a key component of the NYC Ferry Forward plan to help open up new revenue streams to continue to lower the per passenger subsidy. This RFP comes amidst another year of record-breaking ridership and the successful delivery of a number of NYC Ferry Forward initiatives since 2022, including driving down the per passenger subsidy to $8.55.

The NYC Ferry system provides over 7 million riders annually with safe, dependable, affordable, and accessible transit across the five boroughs. With six routes that touch every borough, 25 landings, and 38 vessels, the system spans 70 nautical miles and is now the largest passenger-only fleet in the nation, based on hours of service and fleet size.

With an experienced, trusted sponsorship consultant with deep connections to innovative, strategic and creative corporate partners, NYC Ferry and NYCEDC aim to find the right brand partner to help drive ridership and make a lasting impact on New York City. Once selected, the consultant and NYCEDC will develop a market strategy for attracting a pool of potential brands that align with the Ferry Forward vision and can support the system financially. NYCEDC expects to begin engagement with brands by late 2024 with the hope of finding a brand partner and negotiating a deal in 2025.

“Every day, we aim to improve quality of life for our fellow New Yorkers and make this city more affordable. By partnering with a naming rights sponsorship for the NYC Ferry, we’re not only giving well-known brands the opportunity to partner with the greatest brand of them all—New York City—but we’re helping working-class New Yorkers keep money in their pockets,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This first-ever naming rights sponsorship is key to our NYC Ferry Forward plan to ensure that our popular ferry system stays affordable, and that New York City’s waterways remain an accessible method of public transportation. With over 7 million riders a year, 38 vessels, and routes covering 70 nautical miles, the opportunity to sponsor the NYC Ferry system has a whale of potential.”

“In the NYC Ferry Forward plan, Mayor Adams made it clear: New Yorkers love the ferry system and our charge is to continue to improve service, advance sustainability and secure additional revenue streams to support the overall financial health of the system,” said Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development & Workforce. “That is what this RFP sets out to accomplish. I commend the NYCEDC team for advancing yet another strategy to fortify our ferry system for generations to come.”

“Since its roll-out in July 2022, Mayor Adams’ NYC Ferry Forward Plan has driven the per-passenger subsidy down by 12 percent with a new, more equitable, dynamic pricing strategy, operational improvements, and record ridership,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “With the release of the RFP to find an agency that will assist in securing a ferry sponsorship package, we are implementing another key element of Ferry Forward toward ensuring long-term financial stability for a service New Yorkers have come to love.”

Securing a brand partner represents more than a revenue stream for NYC Ferry; it is an opportunity to partner and build on our success as a transit system and connect in so many more ways with not just our riders but New Yorkers as well. A successful respondent will have demonstrated experience securing naming rights partnerships and will share the goals of NYC Ferry and its strategic vision. Proposals will be evaluated based on the consultant’s experience, team, proposal, and M/WBE plan among other criteria.

In summer 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced “NYC Ferry Forward”, a vision plan to build on the system’s early success and create a more equitable, accessible, and fiscally sustainable NYC Ferry system.

As a result of NYC Ferry Forward, NYC Ferry has:

  • Decreased the per passenger subsidy to $8.55 as of FY23; 
  • Recorded historic record ridership numbers with 6.9 million riders boarding the NYC Ferry in 2023; 
  • Expanded Ferry Discount Program to make the NYC Ferry more accessible to New Yorkers; 
  • After a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, announced Hornblower as the long-term operator of NYC Ferry in August 2023; 
  • And introduced new express routes like the Rockaway Rocket and South Brooklyn Faster Connections, along with reserved seating to make getting to the beach easier with the Rockaway Reserve.

Click here to view the Consultant Services, NYC Ferry Naming Rights and Sponsorship Services RFP.

The RFP is open today through July 25, 2024.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity; build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city's future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.