Cincinnati Bell will sponsor the streetcar -- now the Cincinnati Bell Connector

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati's new streetcar line won't open its doors for another month, but it's already getting a redesign.

The streetcar became the Cincinnati Bell Connector on Thursday, according to a news release, when the city signed a naming rights agreement with the TV and internet service provider. 

Cincinnati Bell will pay $340,000 per year for 10 years (that’s $3.4 million for the whole decade) in exchange for the name change and a streetcar makeover that incorporates Cincinnati Bell’s colors and logo. Streetcar stations will also be rebranded as Cincinnati Bell stations, according to the news release.

Revenue from the sponsorship will fund streetcar operations.

“The Cincinnati Bell Connector will play an important role in connecting residents, workers and visitors to their jobs and the tremendous entertainment opportunities from The Banks to Over-the-Rhine,” said Cincinnati Bell CEO Ted Torbeck in a news release.

City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld, who once vocally opposed the streetcar project, said Thursday that the rebranding represents a positive step forward. The money Cincinnati Bell spends on the streetcar, he said, is money that taxpayers save.

"This takes that much more of a load off the taxpayers, and for that we should be grateful," he said. "This is a relatively rare instance where you have a corporation sponsoring a major transit project."

Rare is right, although it's not an entirely unprecedented move. A Quicken Loans sponsorship transformed Detroit's forthcoming streetcar line into the Q-Line this March. 

The Cincinnati Bell Connector's shiny new look will be unveiled some time before Sept. 9, when it will open its doors for the first time.

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