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Super Bowl XLVII was the National Football League (NFL) championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers held in New Orleans, Louisiana in February 2013. Being the most watched television broadcast in North America and one of the most watched sporting events in the world, the event spawned quite a few discussions and gossips on Twitter and other social media outlets in real time, particularly surrounding Beyonce’s halftime performance and a blackout that put the game on hold for more than half an hour.
On February 3rd, 2013, the Super Bowl XLVII championship game kicked off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game was broadcast live on CBS in the United States and was streamed online for free on the network’s website.
During the game, there were over 24.1 million tweets about the game and halftime show, with the most-tweeted moments surrounding the power outage with 231,500 tweets-per-minute (TPM), the 108-yard touchdown with 185,000 TPM and the Ravens win announcement with 183,000 TPM.
Beyonce’s Halftime Show
In October 2012, singer-songwriter Beyoncé Knowles was chosen as the headline performer for the halftime show. For part of the show, Knowles performed alongside members of her previous female R&B group Destiny’s Child. According to Billboard estimates based on Nielsan ratings, the halftime show received an average of 104 million viewers, making it the second most-watched halftime show in history.
Illuminati Hand Signal
During the performance, Beyonce made a triangle-shaped hand gesture, that many online joked was a symbol for the conspiratorial organization of governments and corporations known as the “Illuminati.” Prior to this episode, both Beyonce and her husband rapper Jay-Z had been speculated of being involved with the Illuminati on several occasions.
Photo Removal Request
Following the show, BuzzFeed published a compilation of animated GIFs and screen captures from notable moments during the performance. Two days later, BuzzFeed published a post including an email from Beyonce’s publicist asking for the removal of six “unflattering” images from the website (shown below).
During the third quarter of the game, a power outage occurred resulting in a 34-minute delay before play was resumed, leading many to nickname the event “blackout bowl.” It was the most-tweeted moment during the game, with many users joking about the cause of the outage. That evening, the viral content site BuzzFeed published a compilation of notable humorous tweets referencing the blackout.
Beyonce literally killed it at the Super Bowl.— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) February 4, 2013
Now we know why Beyonce had to lip synch at the Inaugural. Too much heat takes out the power grid. #superbowlblackout
— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) February 4, 2013
While the game was still delayed, the Twitter feed for Oreo cookies tweeted an ad referencing the power outage, which featured a lone Oreo cookie next to a dark shadow with the caption “You can still dunk in the dark” (shown below). Within three days, the tweet received over 15,900 retweets and 6,000 favorites.
Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29…
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
On the following day, Tumblr user thefrogman posted an animated GIF in which he causes the blackout by using two hair dryers at the same time (shown below). Within 48 hours, the post received over 89,000 notes.