NBC Blames 30-Second Super Bowl Blackout on ‘Equipment Failure’

Ads that long were going for more than $5 million

Super Bowl LII went dark for 30 seconds. - Credit by Illustration: Dianna McDougall
Headshot of Chris Ariens

About 100 million people thought something was up with their TVs midway through the second quarter of Super Bowl LII tonight when their screens went black.

At 7:38 p.m. ET, after the Patriots scored their second field goal of the game, the network went to a commercial break. But instead of a commercial, there was 30 full seconds of dead air—black screen, no sound.

NBC then returned to the game, with announcer Al Michaels welcoming viewers back and no mention of what happened.

“We had a brief equipment failure that we quickly resolved,” NBC said in a statement. “No game action or commercial time were missed.”

NBC finished selling its ad slots Friday night. The average 30-second spot was going for more than $5 million.

Going into the game, Super Bowl LII executive producer Fred Gaudelli told Adweek, “We have a great technical team, and as long as you don’t have those technical malfunctions, I think we’ll put a good show on.”

On social media Super Bowl viewers, as well as brands, jumped at the chance to come up with their own conclusions:


@ChrisAriens chris.ariens@adweek.com Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.