Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 1
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Houston, can we avoid a problem?

When the power went out in New Orleans, eyebrows went up in Houston.

Within minutes of the Super Bowl power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and Ski Austin, the league’s executive vice president of events and attractions, were communicating with Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown to make sure Toyota Center was ready for the NBA’s big event on Sunday night. About the same time on Super Bowl Sunday, Brown was contacting arena operations staff to reiterate the building’s emergency power plan.

“I guarantee you every single building in the world had a meeting the next day to discuss the issue,” Brown said.

Toyota Center has multiple backup energy systems in place supported by a power station across the street from the arena. It is one of four power stations in downtown Houston that can supply electricity to the building if necessary, Brown said.

The NBA brings in most of the lighting used for the game, with generators to power those systems. “Barring something completely unforeseen,” Brown said, there is enough redundancy in the arena’s power grid to handle any breakdowns in power during the game.

— Don Muret