The Golden Gate Bridge is not only red, it is in the red.
The Golden Gate Bridge district runs a deficit north of $80 million and needs cash. Drivers have rebelled against the idea of a toll hike. They have asked that other sources of revenue be found. As such, the bridge authority is investigating the idea of bringing on corporate sponsors.
Despite the assurances of the bridge authorities, this is leading many to fret that one of the world’s great iconic structures will be dubbed the Google Gate Bridge or the Wells Fargo Golden Gate Bridge or some other aural travesty.
Corporate naming of stadiums, for example, is now commonplace–like Monster Park in San Francisco, which replaced the mellifluous “Candlestick” (after a stint as 3Com Park). So Bay Area sentimentalists are right to be worried.
But maybe there’s a solution that can satisfy both financial reality and the demands of aesthetes. The Golden Gate Bridge district should sell the naming rights to the bridge, but on one condition: the corporate entity that purchases the rights has to change the name–of its company.
Here’s how it would work. If, say, General Mills buys the rights, it changes its firm’s name to Golden Gate Food. Or the apparel company Levi’s could buy the bridge rights, but its customers would have to start wearing Golden Gate Buttonfly 501s.