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OLYMPIC BILLBOARDS SENT PACKING BY FEDERAL JUDGE

     The sponsors of the '96 Games in Atlanta were dealt a
"marketing setback" as a federal judge refused to allow a city
ordinance that would have permitted "as many as 25 gargantuan
billboards" in the Atlanta area, according to Lyle Harris of the
ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  The order is the result of a lawsuit filed
by one of the city's largest billboard owners, Outdoor Systems,
Inc.  The megasigns would have been as tall as 90 feet, and as
wide as 40 feet.  The ordinance would have also stipulated 80% of
the signs be Olympic-related, with the remaining 20% retained for
advertising logos, symbols, or slogans.  ACOG officials were
instrumental in helping city officials craft the ordinance in
order to satisfy sponsors who paid as much as $40M for
sponsorship rights.  The large signs would have overshadowed
competitors' smaller billboards that could be present in Atlanta
during the Olympics.  U.S. District Judge William O'Kelley found
the ordinance in violation of free speech rights and equal
protections guarantees.  Outdoor Systems' Randy Romig:  "I'm
concerned about the image of the outdoor advertising industry,
and I thought the size of these signs was outrageous" (ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 5/4).
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