An electrical relay device installed at the Superdome to help prevent blackouts failed and caused the power outage that shut down the Super Bowl, the suppliers said on Friday.
Lights went out in the stadium early in the third quarter of the National Football League’s championship spectacle last Sunday, halting the game for 35 minutes while more than 100 million people watched on American television.
After the power was restored and the lights shined once more, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl 47, which attracted the third-largest US TV audience ever after the 2010 and 2011 Super Bowls.
The device had been put in place at the stadium in the event of a cable failure between electrical switch boxes and the stadium and had worked properly at three prior American football games before the Super Bowl.
Entergy New Orleans, the electricity supplier for the area, said in a statement that the relay device mistakenly caused a switch to open where the power cables from a nearby substation meet the stadium, causing the outage.
The device was removed and the Superdome is back to normal, but a decision regarding replacement equipment is being evaluated, the company said.
“While some further analysis remains, we believe we have identified and remedied the cause of the power outage and regret the interruption that occurred during what was a showcase event for the city and state,” Entergy New Orleans president Charles Rice said.
The game was meant to showcase how far New Orleans had come in rebuilding since Hurriance Katrina devastated the region in 2005, but instead the blackout in the first Super Bowl in the city since the storm struck left many in New Orleans fearful it might harm the chances of the big game ever returning.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that despite the first interruption of a Super Bowl contest, New Orleans would remain in the league’s plans as a potential future Super Bowl host. City officials say they plan to bid for the 2018 Super Bowl.