The 34-minute power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans during Super Bowl  XLVII on Sunday night was nearly as big of a story as the game itself. Evidently, officials at the stadium have been worried since October  about a potential issue occurring at the league’s big game.
A memo from Oct. 15 mentioned tests on the electrical feeders that connect incoming power from utility lines to the stadium showing decay and a “chance of failure.” The documents also show the utility that supplies the stadium expressed concern about the reliability of the service before the Super Bowl. The memo was prepared for the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District (LSED), the state body responsible for the Superdome.
In result of this, authorities authorized spending nearly $1 million on Superdome improvements, including more than $600,000 spent on upgrading the dome’s electrical feeder cable system. All of this work was done in December.
“As discussed in previous board meetings, this enhancement is necessary to maintain both the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena as top tier facilities, and to ensure that we do not experience any electrical issues during the Super Bowl,” read an LSED document dated Dec. 19.
Superdome commission records show a $513,250 contract to replace feeder cables was awarded to Allstar Electric, a company based in suburban New Orleans.
Though this was a very unfortunate moment for New Orleans and the stadium, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he felt that the city did a great job in hosting its first pro football championship in the post-Hurricane Katrina era.
“I fully expect that we will be back here for Super Bowls,” Goodell said. He also added that a backup power system was ready to be used but was unnecessary once the lights came back on.
This was the third consecutive year that the Super Bowl was viewed by over 108 million people. In fact, the 108.4 million viewers made the game the third-most-viewed program in television history, trailing only the two most recent games.
Superdome officials plan to make a bid for hosting the Super Bowl in 2018.