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Elite fleet: Flacco to grace MTA buses in $45,000 BaltimoreLink promotion

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco runs out to the field before the start of a preseason exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco runs out to the field before the start of a preseason exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium. (Tom Brenner / Baltimore Sun)

It might appear Gov. Larry Hogan wants to make Baltimore's maligned bus system elite.

The governor and the Maryland Transit Administration will unveil five buses featuring pictures of Ravens star Joe Flacco in a news conference with the Super Bowl-winning quarterback Wednesday afternoon, officials announced Tuesday.

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The promotion is part of BaltimoreLink, $135 million overhaul of the MTA bus system's routes that Hogan says will make service more reliable and better connect the city's transportation network. Rollout of the new routes is to begin in June.

The Maryland-flag colored buses will include in-game photos of Flacco and Ravens logos, with the slogan "Linking You to the Places that Matter Most."

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Flacco, who makes roughly $22.1 million a year, plus an estimated $500,000 in various endorsements, will receive $45,000 for the one-year use of his image on the buses, an MTA spokesman said. The contract also includes radio and television spots.

The Ravens are also being compensated for the use of the team's logo, helmet and jersey under a separate, multi-year partnership with the MTA.

Flacco, 32, has thrown for 32,639 yards and 182 touchdowns in nine seasons with the Ravens. What's the official governmental opinion, though? Is "Joe Cool" elite?

"As far as the important question goes, I'm sure the state of Maryland sees Joe Flacco as an elite quarterback," MTA spokesman Paul Shepard said.

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