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The Mercedes-Benz Superdome for 30 minutes last night was "bathed in auxiliary lights after a power outage cast a shadow on Super Bowl 2013 and New Orleans' otherwise flawless performance as host city of the NFL's big game," according to Richard Rainey of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. The cause of the outage and "what it might do to the city's bid for the Super Bowl in 2018 were the lasting uncertainties after the game." Local electric company Entergy and SMG, the management company of the venue, in a statement said, "Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue." Rainey notes minutes from '12 meetings of the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District "show multiple references to electrical work in the latter part of the year, underscoring the urgency to complete last-minute electrical work in advance of the Super Bowl." But it is "not clear whether there's a connection between the emergency work and Sunday's blackout." New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu "called for a full review of what happened" (NOLA.com, 2/4). USA TODAY's Lindsay Jones notes CBS' broadcast was "briefly knocked off the air, and all of the video boards in the stadium went dark." Full power was "not restored" until 7:58pm CT, and play resumed at 8:10pm. The outage caused "multiple problems in the stadium." Radio communication was "at least temporarily lost between the AFC coaches booth and the sideline." An elevator "went out of service, and air conditioning and Internet service were lost." CBS was able to "power up its set on the far side of the stadium, just past the Baltimore bench in order to broadcast updates during the outage." Entergy on Twitter said that there "were no power issues outside of the Dome." It added the "power issue at the Superdome appears to be in the customer's side" (USA TODAY, 2/4).
AS IT HAPPENED: Video from the control booth at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome moments before last night's power outage was shown on this morning's edition of "CBS This Morning." CBS’ Armen Keteyian was speaking with NFL Senior VP/Events Frank Supovitz for a segment scheduled to air on Showtime's “60 Minutes Sports” this Wednesday at 10:00pm ET when the lights went out. Keteyian said, "We were talking about the halftime clock and how Beyonce’s show had run three minutes long when everything changed, leading us to a search for answers that over 35 minutes never came.” Keteyian said in the control room, “There was no panic but there was an undeniable amount of uncertainty about the cause.” The video featured a short back-and-forth between Supovitz and SMG Senior VP/Stadiums & Arenas Doug Thornton, with Thornton saying, “Frank, we lost the A-feed.” Supovitz: “What does that mean?” Thornton: “That means that we have to do the bus tie.” Supovitz: “What does that mean?” Thornton: “That means about a 20-minute delay” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 2/4).
TOUGH BREAK: ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas wrote since the cause of the outage "wasn't known immediately, it's safe to assume that will be dissected as much as the game itself in the coming days" (ESPN.com, 2/3). ESPN.com's Greg Garber wrote the outage "spawned a series of surreal scenes." The crowd, with the "low buzz of a Sunday picnic, doing the wave when boredom quickly set in." The NFL "suits, phones pressed to their ears, glared at the vast ceiling" (ESPN.com, 2/3). NBC’s Jenna Wolfe was in the stands when the blackout occurred and she said, “Nobody panicked, nobody was overly concerned, nobody rushed the field. Everyone for the most part was calm" ("Today," NBC, 2/4). In K.C., Sam Mellinger writes, "Standing around in nothing but the emergency lights -- with fire alarms going off throughout much of the Superdome -- is the continuation of a rough week for Roger Goodell and presumably all the excuse corporate America will need to keep this game away from America’s best party city for quite some time" (K.C. STAR, 2/4). In N.Y., Ken Belson in a front-page piece writes it was "one of the oddest moments in Super Bowl history." The blackout is "certain to add to the legend of the Superdome." The NFL, which runs the Super Bowl with "an iron hand and brutal efficiency, is not used to random events during the games, which are tightly scripted for television networks." The power failure "immediately spawned an Internet frenzy," and a game "in danger of turning into a blowout had suddenly been given a jolt" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4).
EMBARRASSING MOMENT: Jack Morton Worldwide Managing Dir Matt Pensinger writes, "For those of us who have seen all the planning and redundancies in place for global events, this is truly shocking #sportsbiz" (TWITTER.com, 2/3). In London, Julian Linden writes while "not uncommon in sports events played at night, the NFL and New Orleans officials were left red-faced and scrambling for answers." The stoppage was the "latest in a series of embarrassing Super Bowl incidents for the NFL" (London INDEPENDENT, 2/4). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes inside the Superdome, there "was an awkward, surreal silence." Ravens C Matt Birk said, "We all plugged in our phones at halftime. Maybe that's what caused it." Gay writes there was something "so fitting about the outage -- an embarrassing breakdown on this, football's biggest night." There is "no league as meticulously stage-crafted as the NFL, so slick and image-conscious, and yet over the past year the game has found itself under a siege it cannot control" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/4).
BACK FOR MORE? Goodell today said that the blackout "won't impact the city of New Orleans' chances of hosting another Super Bowl." Goodell said, "I full expect that we will be back here for Super Bowls. And I hope we will be back. We want to be back." Goodell added that there was "another alternative if the blackout had continued." He said that there was a "backup system that was ready to get rebooted when the lights were restored." Goodell: "I don't think this will have any impact at all on what I think will be remembered for one of the greatest Super Bowl weeks" (ESPN.com, 2/4). NFL Network's Albert Breer wrote, "Here's hoping that the blackout doesn't prevent future Super Bowls from coming here. Stadium's not great. But city's perfect for this week" (TWITTER.com, 2/4). The AP's Paul Newberry writes a Super Bowl week that had "gone so smoothly for the Big Easy suddenly turned bizarre when everyone was watching." The outage was "an embarrassment for New Orleans, which was hosting its first Super Bowl since 2002 and was eager to show off how it has been rebuilt since Hurricane Katrina" (AP, 2/4). N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said, “The shame of it is this had been such a spectacular comeback week for New Orleans. It’s a great American city. This was a celebration of the city and everything went so great until (the blackout)” (“Today,” NBC, 2/4). Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde tweeted, "Hope New Orleans enjoyed this week. It won't get another Super Bowl after this" (TWITTER.com, 2/3). In Miami, Adam Beasley writes critics argue Sun Life Stadium "isn't modern enough to host another Super Bowl." But "at least they can keep the lights on in Miami Gardens" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/4).
Social media sites such as Twitter were filled with commentary while Super Bowl XLVII play was suspended due to a power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Horrow Sports Ventures Exec Dir Brian Finkel wrote, “Well, that blackout was good for people who took the under on 111 million viewers.” ESPN.com’s Mark Kreidler posted, “So far, CBS's coverage of stadium blackout > any of the pre-game shows. #HatePreGame.” The official Twitter feed for Pro Football Talk asked, “Does the guy who caused the blackout get MVP votes?” Time Magazine’s Sean Gregory wrote, “folks, this was seriously the best blackout ever.” Former NFLer Damien Woody: “If 49ers win, the blackout def will get more coverage.” NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington tweeted, “If this indeed turns into an epic finish, as I think it will, I'd like to be the first to suggest this name: The Blackout Bowl. @NFL #SB47.” ESPN Radio’s Bonnie Bernstein: “Good news is, MetLife already had its Blackout Gate. Nov, 2010. NYG-Cowboys. May be cold next year but there will be light.” N.Y Daily News columnist Bob Raissman wrote, “Next year Vegas will have a prop bet on a Meadowlands blackout.” N.Y. Times’ Michael Schmidt tweeted, “the worst part about the blackout is having to hear more from shannon sharpe.” Actor Jeff Daniels wrote, “This Blackout is when the CBS On Air Talent earns their money. #Newsroom.” Fox Sports Radio’s Ben Maller: “Commissioner Roger Goodell has expanded the NFL's archaic blackout rule to the entire United States for the Super Bowl.” The Globe & Mail’s Kevin Paul Dupont wrote, “NHL lockout. NFL blackout. Over to you, MLB." The Charlotte Observer’s Jim Utter posted, “I think I saw Manti Te'o girlfriend in the blackout ... skyping.” Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban tweeted, “The next time the lights go out at a super bowl will they do a flashback and show the highlights of this blackout?” NPR’s Scott Simon: “I wonder how many children will be conceived during the Great Super Bowl blackout?”
MONEY TALKS: The impact on Super Bowl advertising stood out during the delay. Digiday Editor-in-Chief Brian Morrissey wrote, “Confirmed: quick thinking agency behind that Oreo blackout tweet? @360i.” TV Guide’s Michael Schneider tweeted, “CBS ad sales kicking itself that it didn't sell a blackout sponsorship.” CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" Exec Producer Justin Stangel: “Maybe evil voodoo Stevie Wonder has something to do with the blackout #SB47.” SI’s Jon Wertheim wrote, “A Super Bowl blackout is a hell of an ad premise...”
Three arbitrators on Friday ruled that the Rams’ "proposal for a dramatic renovation" of Edward Jones Dome -- estimated to cost at least $700M -- was the "only way to make the building a 'first tier' football facility," according to Nicholas Pistor of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC), which operates the dome, now has "30 days to decide if it will try to enact the Rams’ plan." But CVC attorney Greg Smith on Friday said that was “unlikely.” If the CVC "rejects the plan, as expected, the Rams’ lease at the Dome will go to a year-to-year basis starting in March 2015, freeing the team to potentially leave St. Louis." But talks between local leaders and the Rams are "expected to shift toward the idea of building a new stadium, on a new site." Arbitration hearings began in mid-January and "lasted about two weeks," with Friday's ruling coming "earlier than the Rams and city officials expected." In the end, the arbitrators "found several deficiencies with the Dome." They wrote in their ruling, "First, the facilities as a whole are lacking, principally because of the small footprint on which the dome is built. It is the smallest in the NFL." They also said the building “lacks openness, light and air” and found obstacles to "adding club seats, and providing those seats with adequate leg room, as well as obstacles to providing fans in suites ... with good views of a new center-hung scoreboard" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/2). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his state of the league address Friday said the league wants to make sure the Rams "get the stadium issue resolved because they do need to have the kind of stadium that will help support them for the long term in St. Louis." Goodell: "I believe that the business community and the officials in St. Louis want that outcome. I believe [Owner] Stan Kroenke wants that outcome and they're all working together to try to get there. The process is unfolding" (NFL Network, 2/1).
Candlestick Park likely will "go out with a blast next year to make way for a shopping center,” according to Matier & Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Plans are to “blow up the 69,000-seat stadium with a 30-second implosion, possibly within weeks of the 49ers' final touchdown next season.” The S.F. Recreation & Park Department, which owns Candlestick, had “feared it would be stuck spending millions to mothball the 53-year-old structure until Lennar Corp. was ready to build something on the land.” Lennar now “figures there's no point in waiting.” Plans for a “side-by-side stadium and mall at Candlestick evaporated” after the 49ers announced in ‘06 that they were building a stadium in Santa Clara. Lennar Bay Area Urban Division President Kofi Bonner said that rubble from Candlestick's implosion “will be used to grade the site for an 800,000-square-foot shopping district.” Additionally, there are plans for a 3,000- to 4,000-seat arena that "could accommodate small concerts," house the ECHL S.F. Bulls, and "maybe even host pro women's basketball” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/4).
The "noise" coming from the MLB Giants about the Warriors' proposal to build an arena on Piers 30-32 in S.F. "has quieted," according to John Cote of the S.F. CHRONICLE. That is "in part because Mayor Ed Lee convened the teams' leadership to get them to work out their differences in person, instead of in the media or at public meetings." The Giants "haven't exactly been the biggest boosters of the Warriors' move," as they cite "concerns about traffic and accessibility." Others have said that the Giants are concerned about their "bottom line and more specifically competing for sponsorships (not to mention that at one time the team hoped to have an arena on an adjacent development)." The Giants have "suggested they would like to see the arena at Pier 50 instead." Lee "wouldn't go into details about what the two are at odds about or how they might reach a compromise, but he did hint that the leadership of both teams will need to work on avoiding scheduling conflicts with one another and with the city" (SFGATE.com, 2/4).
Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza mall site is “suddenly gaining favor as a possible home" for the NBA Kings, according to a front-page piece by Kasler & Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. City Manager John Shirey is “preparing to study how an arena could fit at the mall.” However, city officials said that they “haven't abandoned the railyard site at the northern edge of downtown -- home to the arena proposal that was blessed by the NBA but abandoned last spring by the Kings' owners, the Maloofs.” But Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle's “enthusiasm for Downtown Plaza has altered the arena landscape.” Unlike the railyard, the mall is “in the heart of the central city and provides greater opportunity for spinoff commercial development.” Burkle on Friday also emerged “as a bidder for arena operator AEG, which already has pledged its support for a new NBA building in Sacramento.” If he does buy AEG, "that could strengthen Sacramento's hand in the tug-of-war over the Kings.” Downtown Plaza “offers some advantages in terms of bringing a project to fruition quickly.” It is “private property,” so a mall conversion “would be spared much of the red tape involved at the city-owned arena site in the railyard.” But one potential “hitch to the mall site is parking.” AECOM Sports Architecture Dir Bill Crockett, whose firm conducted a study for Downtown Plaza owner JMA Ventures, said that the study “envisions building the arena partly below ground, eliminating many of the 3,700 parking spots beneath the mall.” But city officials said that there are “still thousands of parking spaces within walking distance that would be freed up for evening events.” A source said that JMA “has discussed building office, retail, residential and entertainment space in conjunction with the arena” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/3).