Great story in today's Wall Street Journal — Dubai is selling the naming rights to stations on its 45-mile netowrk. With pharmaceutical experts taking a beating in Congress over their DTC approaches, why not just sponsor a rail station in Dubai? "Lipitor Station" has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
Dubai is an interesting place. It's an emirate on the Arabian Peninsula. The average high temperature there is north of 100 degrees five months out of the year. So, they have built the world's only indoor ski hill. Ski Duabi! I am not making this up.
The place needed a hotel, so they built the Burj Al Arab — remember this one? 25 stories, shaped like a billowing sale, peach-scented elevators, $3,000 a night for a room, butlers for every room, yadayadayada.
The thing about Dubai is that, unlike all of the other Emirates, it doesn't have much oil. So, the economy is built on tourism and trade. And in this spirit, I guess, they're selling companies the right to have stations on the railway named after them. In fact, if you have enough cash, you can have the entire line named after you.
As the Journal pointed out, given that this is the Middle East, you're not going to see, say, the Victoria's Secret Line, or the Jose Cuervo Line, or Hooters Station anytime soon. However, everything else is up for grabs.
The Nexium Line. I can just see it.