SFMTA Finally to Offer Officially Branded Merch

"If Muni started selling their own stuff, I'd be the first one to buy it," promises blogger and T-shirt maker Greg Dewar, whose "The N is Near" shirt gives San Franciscans the chance to show off their love-hate relationship with slow Muni service. Walter Koning, who sells Muni swag through Cafe Press, thinks that if Muni were to sell its own shirts, it'd be "a winner."

But unlike the New York Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA), Muni has never peddled official merchandise, much to the dismay of transit nerds and S.F. expats. Even the Muni drivers do their own shopping — many have been spotted wearing Muni beanies sold by Upper Playground.

Recently the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) realized it was missing out and started a formal licensing process and negotiations with a vendor to create official Muni merch.

What does the cash-strapped SFMTA stand to gain? According to Aaron Donovan, spokesman for the New York MTA, merchandise sales in New York bring in roughly $3.5 million a year, $500,000 of which comes from licensing agreements, which require independent vendors to pay MTA 10 to 15 percent of their net proceeds.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency (MBTA) in Boston opened an online gift store last June, selling shirts, cufflinks, and shower curtains emblazoned with the T logo. "We had some serious budgeting concerns," says Rose Yates, MBTA's deputy director of marketing, "and it seemed like a win-win situation." By contract, the vendor guarantees a minimum of $500,000 per year.

Back here, independent vendors have achieved success with Muni merchandise, so the SFMTA might have a chance, too.

Koning sells Muni apparel modeled after the popular New York MTA shirts, which feature a route's number or letter in a circle with its name underneath. In 2010, the New York MTA went after another San Franciscan making similar shirts, claiming that any apparel featuring letters inside circles violated its copyright. (MTA dropped its complaint after the resulting media furor.)

The Muni squiggle is also copyrighted, but the SFMTA has never bothered to chase the likes of Koning and Dewar, and has only started considering it now.

So why is Muni late to the licensing party? "It's something that we had to do thoroughly to make sure the process is done correctly," spokesman Paul Rose says.

Rose couldn't tell us when we could start decking ourselves out in Muni gear. The question, then: Which will come first, official Muni shirts or the Central Subway?

 
My Voice Nation Help
13 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
make your own shirts
make your own shirts

After you have found a website to make a funny t-shirt, go the section that gives you the option to create your own funny t-shirts. You will find that there would be blank t-shirts available on their catalog and you now need to choose the base color of the t-shirt. White and black make the best base colors but it is completely up to you to choose the right color.

Almeria23
Almeria23

i cant believe this!! me and my sister just got two i-pads for $42.77 each and a $50 amazon card for $9. the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell you. Go here, www.tinyurl.com/3qa436v

Ramona Fuller
Ramona Fuller

Ĩ ČĂŃŤ βĔĹĨĔVĔ ŤĤĨŚ!! МĔ ĂŃĎ МŶ ŚĨŚŤĔŔ ĴÚŚŤ ĞŐŤ ŤŴŐ Ĩ-РĂĎŚ ŦŐŔ $42.77 ĔĂČĤ ĂŃĎ Ă $50 ĂМĂŹŐŃ ČĂŔĎ ŦŐŔ $9. ŤĤĔ ŚŤŐŔĔŚ ŴĂŃŤ ŤŐ ĶĔĔР ŤĤĨŚ Ă ŚĔČŔĔŤ ĂŃĎ ŤĤĔŶ ĎŐŃŤ ŤĔĹĹ ŶŐÚ.Go here www.tinyurl.com/3qa436v

Emma Pope
Emma Pope

I enjoyed this article actually...@Mark i cant believe this!! me and my sister just got two i-pads for $42.77 each and a $50 amazon card for $9. the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell you.go here, pluscent.com

Emma Pope
Emma Pope

i cant believe this!! me and my sister just got two i-pads for $42.77 each and a $50 amazon card for $9. the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell you.go here, pluscent .com

Emma Pope
Emma Pope

i cant believe this!! me and my sister just got two i-pads for $42.77 each and a $50 amazon card for $9. the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell you.go here, pluscent.com

Emma Pope
Emma Pope

i cant believe this!! me and my sister just got two i-pads for $42.77 each and a $50 amazon card for $9. the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell you.go here, pluscent.com

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Will they sell these items at the Market St. Railway gift shop?

njudah
njudah

one thing to note is that the gross sales of NYC merchandise (every dept. in NYC has a gift shop even the coroner!) is much higher than anything I, Muni Diaries, or anyone else generates. By the time they do the work to work out the licensing, they'd lose money or barely break even.

One time I wore a T Third line shirt from the opening of the new line a few years ago and I can't tell you how amazingly popular it was around town. I shoulda snagged a hat that day!

 
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...