Iconic London Tube Logo, Map to Be Licensed for Global Branding

  • Network is under pressure to find new sources of revenue
  • Metro system’s ‘roundel’ symbol was first used in 1908

Transport for London announced an agreement to license its Tube logo and map for use on clothing, toys and homeware around the globe, amid pressure to find new sources of revenue.

The five-year deal with TSBA Group will see the brand licensing company paid through royalties rather than any direct payment from TfL, according to an emailed statement Tuesday.

London Underground roundels.

Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

“Our partnership with TSBA provides us with the expertise to re-align and expand our licensing program and keep pace with the global market to generate new revenue to reinvest in transport,” David Ellis, TfL’s intellectual property chief, said in the statement.

In its budget published at the end of March, the net cost of operating the network for the 2016-2017 financial year was forecast to be 907 million pounds ($1.17 billion). The organization currently generates just under half a million pounds in licensing revenue per year, a TfL spokeswoman said by phone, declining to comment on how much revenue the new deal could yield.

In December, London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s TfL Business Plan said the organization must generate new revenue streams if it is to remain affordable. A spokesman for Khan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The London Underground roundel logo, originally known as the ‘bar and circle’, was first used in 1908 at St James’s Park station near Buckingham Palace, while the Tube map in its current form was designed by engineer Harry Beck in 1933.

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