Sports & Infrastructure

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

February 8, 2013

Super Bowl 47 will be remembered not for what happened on the field, but for what happened off it. The game was suspended for 34 minutes when the power went out at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. While the incident was embarrassing for both the NFL and New Orleans, it did help make apparent a flaw in the Superdome’s electrical system, prompting mayor Mitch Landrieu to launch a full investigation into what happened.

For all of the benefits that come from having a professional sports team, one of the most overlooked is the effect sports can have on identifying basic infrastructure needs within cities. For every new stadium or arena built, public officials meticulously analyze how the facilities will impact the local community. This currently is a big issue in Atlanta, where road and sidewalk improvements could add $200 million to the cost of a new Falcons stadium.

In New Orleans’ case, it doesn’t matter what’s responsible for causing the blackout… just that a sporting event helped uncover it.

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