'Super' stadium blackout: Could it happen here? - FOX 13 News

'Super' stadium blackout: Could it happen here?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Along with Beyonce and the funny commercials, the power outage is what people were talking about most after last night's Super Bowl. I went to Raymond James stadium to ask, "Could it happen here?"

The short answer is yes.

"Those kinds of things can happen when it's a live event," said Eric Hart, president and CEO of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Sports Authority, the landlord at Raymond James Stadium.

Few were watching the Super Bowl interruption more closely than people who runstadiums in other cities.

"Our first concern is safety," continued Hart, who said his initial judgment is that the situation was handled well. "The fact that there was no panic. If you noticed, everyone in the crowd stayed calm."

The Superdome never actually went dark. There was plenty of light for people to see around them. Hart says that's because backup systems kicked in, the way they would at RayJay. He says that in the event of an outage, much of the large field lighting would be lost. But, he says, generators would start immediately to power plenty of lighting for safety.

"They'll run some of the lights up there," he said, pointing to the huge towers. "But also exit lights and lighting in the concourses."

He said the stadium would be "absolutely safe" under auxiliary power.

TSA officials declined to show us the equipment, citing security concerns.

Hart explained that the NFL requires that stadiums perform a complete inspection of their electrical systems as part of bids to host a Super Bowl. Tampa has hosted the event four times without a stadium power outage.

Outages have happened several times at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. In 2009, when a bad thunderstorm knocked out power to the Trop, TV cameras caught fans in their seats reading books while power was restored.

However, local baseball fans may be more patient with such things than the hundreds of millions of football fans who watched last night's Super Power Outage around the globe.

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