TfL fails to find a cable car sponsor to replace Emirates

Emirates Cable Car fails to find sponsor

Transport for London (TfL) has failed to secure a replacement sponsor for its cable car in East London as its £36m deal with Emirates comes to an end.

TfL began the hunt last December for a company to take over naming and branding rights for the cars and stations, as well as appear on the London Tube Map, which is present in over 3,000 locations in the capital.

TfL had called on all submissions to tender to be made by February 22 and planned to evaluate them in March before a winning bid was announced in June.

Previous sponsor Emirates had spent £3.6m a year over the 10 year tenure of its deal. In a post-pandemic era with fewer commuters using the service, however, TfL has reportedly resigned itself to only getting a fraction of that figure from a new sponsor.

Danny Price, TfL’s general manager for sponsored services, downplayed the impact to The Drum earlier this year, stressing that the cable car had “had a revival”, thanks in part to social media stars using its ‘private cabins’ for photoshoots and inspiring tourist to do the same.

Despite the promise of featuring in TikTok videos and Instagram posts, the deadline for submissions passed without a single expression of interest.

“The search for a new sponsor for cable is ongoing and we are continuing with market engagement for a new commercial partner that shares the ambition to build on its success and help maintain its position as one of the best things to do in London,” said Josh Crompton, TfL’s head of cable car.

“We know our customers love the unique experience and the spectacular views the cable car offers, which is demonstrated by being highly rated on visitor attraction sites and consistently strong passenger numbers. The relocation of City Hall 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 branding will be stripped from the stations and cars.

The Drum asked TfL about contingency plans for naming and branding on the cars should it fail to find a sponsor by the time Emirates exits, but it was unable able to comment.