BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The Super Bowl, the biggest U.S. sports event of the year, was interrupted by a 34-minute power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Sunday.
The day after the blackout, the exact cause -- and who's to blame -- was still unclear, though a couple of potential culprits had been ruled out.
It wasn't Beyonce's electrifying halftime performance, according to Doug Thornton, manager of the state-owned Superdome, since the singer had her own generator.
And it apparently wasn't a case of too much demand for power either. Meters showed the 76,000-seat stadium was drawing no more electricity than it does during a typical New Orleans Saints game, Thornton said.
The lights-out game proved an embarrassment for the host city just when it was hoping to show the rest of the world how far it has come since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But many fans and residents were forgiving and officials expressed confidence that the episode wouldn't hurt the city's hopes of hosting the championship again.
To New Orleans' great relief, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the city did a "terrific" job hosting its first pro football championship in the post-Katrina era, and added: "I fully expect that we will be back here for Super Bowls."
Fans watching from their living rooms weren't deterred, either. An estimated 108.4 million people saw the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31, making it the third most-viewed program in television history. Both the 2010 and 2011 games hit the 111 million mark.
The problem that caused the outage was believed to have happened around the spot where a line that feeds current from the local power company, Entergy New Orleans, connects with the Superdome's electrical system, officials said. But whether the fault lay with the utility or with the Superdome was not clear.
The city last hosted the Super Bowl in 2002, and officials were hoping this would serve as the ultimate showcase for the city's recovery. The storm tore holes in the roof of the Superdome and caused water damage to its electrical systems, and more than 330 million dollars was spent repairing and upgrading the stadium.
Sunday's Super Bowl was New Orleans' 10th as host, and officials plan to make a bid for an 11th in 2018. (Source: agencies)