IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2016 - 56

Changes in image brightness during widely watched
television programs, such as the Super Bowl,
are the cause of many frequency events.
upward from the ground. Periods of low lighting during the
show corresponded to distinct frequency rises, while a subsequent brightening from 20:15:58 to 20:16:02 was at the
beginning of a 30-mHz frequency drop. A later display with
the flamethrowers in continuous operation, from 20:17:17 to
20:17:43, also corresponded to a 30-mHz drop. A larger frequency drop (50 mHz) toward the end of the show is more
difficult to explain. The drop began at 20:21:29, when some
fireworks were fired from the stage. This time marked the
beginning of an increase in lighting, although the change in
image brightness relative to similar changes earlier in the show
did not seem dramatic enough to account for the amount of
the frequency decline. The subsequent commercial starting at
20:22:32 had relatively dark images, especially at the beginning, which would explain the sharp frequency rise at that
time. The 80-mHz frequency decline over the next 100 s is
consistent with the application of loads arising from household
activities that had been deferred during the halftime show.

Halftime Show: Super Bowl XLVIII
(2 February 2014)
As during Super Bowl XLVII, there was a decrease in average brightness after the end of halftime. Halftime ended

Start of
Fireworks

Flames

End of the Game: Super Bowl XLVII
(3 February 2013)
Toward the end of the game, human behavior began to
have some apparent effects on frequency. (See Figure 6.)
There were several frequency disturbances of interest
during the last 20 min of the game in addition to those
associated with changes in the television image. After an
incomplete pass on a crucial fourth down play for the San
Francisco 49ers at 22:35:02, frequency accelerated upward
about 20 mHz over the next 17 s despite no major change
in image brightness. It is likely that a number of disappointed 49ers fans turned off their television sets at this
point, with the outcome of the game likely decided. One of
the authors recalls seeing a similar phenomenon following
a game-clinching play near the end of a previous Super

60.06

60.04

Commercials

60.06

with a fireworks display. After the show was over, load that
had been deferred began to be added. Dominion Virginia
Power system load steadily rose for a period of 4 min. The
result of the coincidence of these factors was a 90-mHz frequency decline from 60.06 Hz to 59.97 Hz. This was actually a greater decline than had been observed in a very similar situation the previous year.

End of
Game

60.04
60.02

figure 5. Recorded frequency during the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show. The horizontal axis is time of day (EST).
56

ieee power & energy magazine

59.94

SF 49ers Scores
Safety
Baltimore 34-31
SF 4th and Goal:
Pass Incomplete
Game

Commercials

59.96

Game
Commercials
Game

Commercials

20
:

25
:

00

End of Last
Song

00
20
:
PSFM3FREQ

59.98

22
:2
0
22 :00
:2
5:
00
22
:3
0:
00
22
:3
5:
00
22
:4
0:
00
22
:4
5:
00
22
:5
0:
00
22
:5
5:
00
23
:0
0:
00

PSFM1FREQ

20
:

20
:

15
:

00

Halftime
Show
Countdown

00
10
:
20
:

20
:

05
:

00

59.94

Commercials

59.98

60.00

Commercials 2-min Warning

Darker Images
Halftime
Darker Period
Show
Steady Flames
(Brighter Image)

60.00

59.96

60.02

figure 6. Recorded frequency at the end of Super Bowl
XLVII. The horizontal axis is time of day (EST).
november/december 2016



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