I wonder if the team putting on the Super Bowl had a risk register, and if so, I wonder if power outage was one of the qualitative and or quantitative risks they registered and dealt with. My guess is yes, and yes.
For those of you who were in Tora Bora during the Super Bowl, the power went out for part of the Superdome, and some of the lights went off. This delayed the game by 34 minutes. If you priced those minutes at the going rate (Super Bowl advertisements cost $8,000,000 per minute), those 34 minutes would have an economic value of $272,000,000.
In a classic risk assessment, one would rank both the probability and the impact of a given event in order to assign it a location on the risk matrix.
I would say that a quarter of a billion dollars would qualify as a high impact event with a fairly low probability.
News reports document that the Superdome and the local utility worked to upgrade the power delivery system prior to the game.
This is very instructive, because it highlights the dynamic nature of project risk assessments. In all likelihood, the project team introduced a new risk while mitigating an existing risk. Anyone who has worked around software development or electrical engineering knows that every change, no matter how innocuous, introduces risk of creating a new problem. That is why I’m an advocate of regular risk assessments throughout the project lifecycle.