TfL is inviting brands to register interest to sponsor the hired bikes from today (2 June). It is asking them to pay a minimum of £5.5m a year for seven years.
Barclays agreed to pay £5m for five years in 2010 but extended its partnership in 2011 for a further two years again at £5m a year.
Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, told Marketing Week that it is confident it can command more because the number of branded bikes on the road has doubled since launch. “It is also a proven scheme, iconic and people love it”, he adds.
The value of the Barclays deal attracted criticism from opposition on the London Assembly who accused Mayor Boris Johnson of not securing enough.
TfL has also pared back the package since it announced in December its deal with Barclays was to end.
At the time Craig said in a statement that Cycle Hire would be part of “a much wider and larger cycling sponsorship offer” including the ‘Cycle Super Highway’.
However, the highway, which Barclays also backs, is not being included in the package and will be sold separately.
The new title sponsor will see their branding on 11,200 bikes. It will be asked to help develop the scheme by co-creating social media initiatives and events to encourage greater use.
Craig says several brands have expressed an interest since it was revealed TfL was searching for a new partner.
It will ask interested brands to bid in July and will name the new sponsor by the end of the year. The new backer will be in place by summer 2015 at the latest.