World Trade Center name brings in thousands of dollars

The World Trade Center is in the news today and it has nothing to do with the anniversary of September 11th that's coming up Wednesday.

Rather, it's about a $10 deal (yes, ten dollars) that happened in 1986. The deal gave the naming rights of the famous building to a nonprofit called World Trade Centers Association. The seller? That would be the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Today, the WTCA charges $200,000 upfront and an additional $10,000 a year for building owners to use the name. Shawn Boburg writes about it The Record in Bergen County, N.J. He says today, there are more than 300 buildings who pay for the right to call themselves "World Trade Center." (See the map above for reference.)

So how did the Port Authority miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars every year? Boberg traced the deal back to the 1980s, when Guy Tozzoli, a now-deceased former employee of the Port Authority who oversaw the construction of the Twin Towers, convinced the Port Authority to sell the World Trade Center naming rights to the World Trade Centers Association. Tozzolli went on to be president of the WTCA.

What worked for Tozzoli works well for the building owners who pay thousands of dollars to license the WTC name today. "A lot of building owners, developers, see this as a marketing tool. The advertising on WTCA's website says you can get higher rents, you can get higher occupancy rates if you have the WTC brand."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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