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Stadium, network in dark on power loss

– The Super Bowl was halted because of a power outage Sunday, plunging parts of the Superdome into darkness and leading to a 34-minute delay in the biggest game of the year.

The Baltimore Ravens were leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6 when most of the lights in the 73,000-seat building went out with 13:22 left in the third quarter.

Auxiliary power kept the playing field from going totally dark, but escalators stopped working and the concourses were illuminated only by small banks of lights tied in to emergency service.

Philip Allison, a spokesman for Entergy New Orleans, which provides power to the stadium, said power had been flowing into the stadium before the lights failed.

“All of our distribution and transmission feeds going into the Superdome were operating as expected,” Allison said.

He said the outage appeared to originate in a failure of equipment maintained by stadium staff. It occurred shortly after Beyoncé put on a 12-minute halftime show that featured extravagant lighting and video effects.

On the CBS broadcast, the play-by-play announcers went silent. It took several minutes and numerous commercial breaks for CBS to find its footing and inform viewers of the situation. Social media exploded in joke conspiracy theories.

The public address announcer said the Superdome was experiencing an interruption of electrical service and encouraged fans to stay in their seats. Some fans did the wave to pass the time. Players milled around on the sidelines, some taking a seat on the bench and others sitting on the field. A few of the Ravens threw footballs around.

The outage provided a major glitch to what has largely been viewed as a smooth week for New Orleans, which was hosting its first Super Bowl since 2002 and was eager to show off how the city has rebuilt since Hurricane Katrina. The 38-year-old Superdome has undergone $336 million in renovations since Katrina ripped its roof in 2005.

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