Commuters approaching Rome's central train station on the metro line A from 25 September will hear "next stop Termini-Vodafone", following a major rebranding deal between Rome public transport company ATAC and the Italian branch of multinational telecommunications giant Vodafone.
The sponsorship agreement is in an experimental phase until December, after which it is expected to be extended into a three-year deal, worth around €1million annually to ATAC, funds which the company has promised to reinvest in Termini.
In addition to being rechristened Termini-Vodafone the station will be decorated with the distinctive red and white colours of the Vodafone brand, under the slogan Roma è bellezza, Roma è passione.
The contract also includes the creation of a temporary Vodafone outlet and free wi-fi in Piazza dei Cinquecento, in front of Termini, and routine maintenance works at the station. Vodafone is also in talks with ATAC about the introduction of SMS ticketing, whereby commuters can purchase metro and bus tickets via text, as is currently possible – with Italian SIM cards only – in Florence.
The renaming will be marked with a music and light ceremony at the Campidoglio on 26 September, followed by a concert the next evening at the Stadio dei Marmi.
This is the first time such a rebranding of public transport services has taken place in Italy but Vodafone set a precedent in June after Madrid's Line 2 metro was renamed “Line 2 Vodafone”, and its central Puerto del Sol metro stop was rechristened “Vodafone-Sol”.
The Italian capital is turning increasingly to corporate sponsorship to fund its projects, the most high-profile of which are the €25 million restoration of the Colosseum by shoe magnate Tods and the €2.5 million restoration of the Trevi Fountain by fashion house Fendi.