Super Bowl XLV: CAT Entertainment Services Powers Chilly Fox Sports Production
Few, if any, sports productions on the planet require the level of planning and manpower needed for a Super Bowl telecast. However, when Fox Sports rolled out its full arsenal of state-of-the-art equipment and A-team personnel at Super Bowl XLV last Sunday, it would have all been for naught without the most fundamental element of all: electrical power.
CAT Entertainment Services (CES) once again powered the Super Bowl broadcast, fulfilling the extensive power requirements for Fox Sports’ sprawling game-day production. CES was responsible for supplying electricity not only to the production compound but also to the outdoor pregame stage setup, the red-carpet show, and the elaborate halftime show.
“There were several different pieces of the broadcast that had to be accounted for — pregame, red carpet, halftime, and [the compound itself] — so we had to power all those different elements,” says CES VP/GM Phil Wessels. “In one respect, it’s a broadcast like many others. But in another respect, it’s THE Super Bowl, so it is a lot more intense.”
The freezing conditions and onslaught of snow in the week before the game threw a sizeable wrench into the well-laid plans of Fox Sports, Cowboys Stadium, and fans from across the country. Luckily, CES’s installation was completed before the inclement weather arrived in Dallas.
“We started our load-in Thursday [Jan. 27], and the weather didn’t hit until Monday,” says Wessels. “We already had our electrical equipment inspected, our cable laid down, and so on.”
CES was also able to scrape together a host of heaters at the last minute to keep Fox Sports’ operations flowing smoothly.
“When we realized that it was going to be icy and cold, CES was able to summon all kinds of heaters outside East Plaza stage, which was really exposed to the elements, in order to make that as comfortable as possible,” says Fox Sports VP of Technical Operations Mike Davies.
Although game-day operations were key, CES’s most critical work was done in the weeks and months leading up to the NFL finale. Along with other vendors, CES was on hand for several on-site visits at Cowboys Stadium by Fox Sports VP of Technical Operations Mike Davies and his crew.
“When you do a huge show like this, a large amount of planning has to be done to determine how you’re going to power it,” says Davies. “You have to maintain redundancy and power integrity for the entire show. [CES] did a great deal of homework to make that process smooth.”
Davies also worked with CES to install additional power for Fox Sports at the stadium just in case any cruel weather arrived for Super Bowl Sunday.
“Early on, we didn’t know what sort of weather we were going to be dealing with, so we decided to bring in some extra power for any heaters that we might need,” he says. “We had some contingency planning in place just in case there was some cold weather, and it obviously came in handy.
In addition to the game itself, CES was at work in Dallas all week, providing power, heating, and technical services to various pregame and corporate-hospitality events. In all, the company coordinated the transmission of more than 16 MW of power through almost 39 miles of cable — enough energy to power a community of approximately 400,000 households.