Venue News: Cause of Super Bowl Power Failure Still Undetermined; Superdome Protects WiFi from ‘Rogue’ Devices

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

On Monday, less than 24 hours after a moment as surreal as any other in recent Super Bowl memory, the N.F.L. and local officials spent less time talking about the game and more time talking about the third-quarter power failure in the Superdome. Commissioner Roger Goodell made two points repeatedly: that the power failure would not impact the city’s ability to host future Super Bowls and that it was not caused by the halftime show, which featured Beyoncé. The Baltimore Ravens won the game, 34-31, withstanding a comeback attempt by the San Francisco 49ers that began after a nearly 35-minute delay caused by the failure. What was not explained is what actually happened to cause lights at the stadium to go out. Goodell and stadium officials said a “root cause analysis” was under way…

…When 73,208 fans filed into the New Orleans Superdome for the Super Bowl on Sunday, they had to follow the usual rules: no booze, no weapons, no fireworks, and no food. They were also prevented from bringing in any wireless equipment that might interfere with the proper workings of the Superdome Wi-Fi network. Lots of time and money went into giving ticket holders a wireless connection that rivals the one in their living rooms, and the NFL didn’t want anyone messing it up. According to Dave Stewart, director of IT and production for Superdome management firm SMG, every device that entered the stadium would be subject to a frequency scan to prevent any “rogue access points or rogue equipment from attempting to operate in the same frequency” as the stadium Wi-Fi network (“rogue” as in “not under the control of the system administrators”)…

…The St. Louis Rams have won a clear victory in the negotiations over the Edward Jones Dome. A panel of three arbitrators sided with the team, saying the Rams’ plan for a dramatic renovation of the Dome — estimated to cost at least $700 million — is the only way to make the building a “first tier” football facility. The Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the Dome, now has 30 days to decide if it will try to enact the Rams’ plan. But one of its lead attorneys, Greg Smith, said this afternoon that is “unlikely.” If the CVC indeed rejects the plan, the Rams’ lease at the Dome will go on a year-to-year basis starting in March 2015…

…Illinois will add a new HD video board above the south end zone in time for the 2013 season. Memorial Stadium’s new electronics, which also include a revamped sound system, are a significant upgrade; the video display will measure 36 feet tall by 96 feet wide, over four times larger than the previous one. The bottom of the video board will include a new 50-foot wide ribbon display that provides the opportunity to showcase sponsors, show up-to-the-minute statistics and inform fans of other game information. The north end zone will feature an identical scoreboard, albeit without video display. Other additions include: 420-foot LED ribbon displays between the seating decks on the east and west sides of the field, two 10 feet by 17 feet displays on the southeast and southwest corners, and a custom Daktronics Sportsound audio system…

…Tampa Bay Rays president Matt Silverman said Thursday the team would agree to examine a stadium proposal in mid-Pinellas County for a set amount of time — if the Rays could then explore sites in Hillsborough County for a set amount of time. After the Rays briefed the Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday about attendance issues at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg City Council Chairman Karl Nurse suggested the team could end a deadlock with the city by exploring developer Darryl LeClair’s detailed stadium proposal at Carillon Business Park. The news of the offer comes amid renewed efforts by public officials on both sides of Tampa Bay to sustain a regional conversation about the future of Major League Baseball in the region.