USC denies trying to 'taunt' UCLA with Matt Barkley billboard
A billboard featuring USC quarterback Matt Barkley posted near UCLA's campus was "not a board to taunt," a USC Athletic Department spokesman said after the Westwood advertisement had been covered from view.
The board, covered Tuesday, one day after The Times first made light of it, is one of 30 in Southern California that are part of USC's "We play" branding and marketing campaign, which encompasses multiple sports and also includes bus wraps and other media platforms.
Both USC and UCLA officials denied involvement in covering the billboard.
"We did not agree with or were we involved in the decision to take the billboard down," said Tim Tessalone, USC Athletic Department spokesman.
"We didn't have anything to do with it," said UCLA Athletic Department spokesman Nick Ammazzalorso.
Craig Kelley, an associate athletic director for marketing, said that USC chose locations for the boards.
"You have certain locations you can choose that are favorable and have high visibility, and we chose the ones that would work best for us at the time, based on what was available.
The billboard, owned by Regency Outdoor Advertising, a company co-owned by a prominent USC donor, is near the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Lindbrook Drive and features Barkley, a Heisman Trophy favorite, looking skyward alongside the words, "We play to finish" with the LA in "play" highlighted.
UCLA is expected to have its own marketing campaign up on billboards in the near future.
-- Baxter Holmes