CBS’ presentation of Super Bowl XLVII suffered an epic production snag when the lights abruptly went out in the New Orleans’ Superdome.
Shortly after Beyoncé’s splashy halftime show, the stadium fell into semi-darkness. CBS Sports cut to a commercial break. When live coverage returned, CBS Sports reporter Steve Tasker informed the 100-million-plus viewers of TV’s most popular annual telecast that the lights in roughly half the stadium were out. The scoreboard was also not working.
“Half the power in New Orleans Superdome is out,” Tasker said while players paced and stretched on the field. “One big click of the light switch and we lost power … We got a lot of officials running around wanting to get this game back on … No question this delay is going to effect in some way the momentum of this game coming just after the halftime and the long return of [Baltimore Ravens wide receiver] Jacoby Jones.”
Soon after, the outage was blamed upon a power surge, with broadcasters telling viewers it could be a 15-minute wait until the lights are fully restored.
“Hey, the next time you plug in your phoner charger give us a warning, eh?” joked CBS Sports commentator Jim Nantz to Phil Simms.
Simms dismissed the idea that the outage might impact the game. “I think they’ll be fine,” Simms said. “These guys are professional athletes. They know how to warm up, stop and restart.”
A spokesman for Energy New Orleans, which provides power to the stadium, told CBS News that the outage “appeared to originate in a failure of equipment maintained by stadium staff.”
CBS Sports issued this statement, assuring advertisers that all deals struck for the big game will be honored: “Immediately after the power failure in the Superdome, we lost numerous cameras and some audio powered by sources in the Superdome. We utilized CBS’s back-up power and at no time did we leave the air. During the interruption, CBS Sports’ Steve Tasker, Solomon Wilcots and our studio team reported on the situation as a breaking news story, providing updates and reports while full power was being restored to the dome including our sets and broadcast booth. All commercial commitments during the broadcast are being honored.”
Full power was restored after about 34 minutes. Shortly after, the 49ers scored two touchdowns and a field goal to narrow the lead.