Cat Entertainment Services Powers NBA All-Star Compound

Thirteen mobile-production units were on hand in Houston to broadcast the 2013 NBA All-Star Game; one company kept them running. For the 13th consecutive year, Cat Entertainment Services (CES) delivered power-generation and temperature-control equipment for NBA’s annual showcase.

CES provided a total of 2,500 kW of technical power to the television compound at the Toyota Center. In addition to the TV trucks, CES powered three uplinks, nine office trailers, a row of dressing rooms, and a cellular-on-wheels facility deployed to enhance wireless connectivity in the venue.

“We provided all the power for everything outside of the building that pertained to the broadcast,” says Michael Martin, assistant VP, CES, “from Turner, to the [NBA] Entertainment package, to the world feed — you name it.”

The power metering system of Turner Studios’ TS2

The power metering system of Turner Studios’ TS2

In addition to Martin, who served as an on-site specialist, a three-person staff installed, maintained, and operated the equipment throughout the weekend and dismantled it once the trucks had rolled out.

One such truck in the compound was Turner Sports’ new TS2 remote-production unit, which handled the All-Star Game halftime performance. The truck is equipped with a power-metering device that ensures that the power feeding the television broadcast is clean. CES works to isolate the technical, or clean, power from the dirty power used for lighting and air-conditioning.

“This power meter actually can give you down-to-the-millisecond readout on what’s going on with the power,” explains Martin. “Eventually, through a phone app, they’ll be able to dial in through their phone and look at that meter off-hours to double-check power.”

Since HD came on the scene, CES has deployed a similar equipment complement for each NBA All-Star game. However, the company continually strives to maintain a minimum carbon footprint and pursue green initiatives.

Cat Entertainment Services’ generators outside the Toyota Center

Cat Entertainment Services’ generators outside the Toyota Center

While on-site in Houston, CES also powered four mobile units and three uplinks at the George R. Brown Convention Center for the pregame parties, shows, and celebrity games.

One of the first technical support teams to arrive, CES remains on-site until all mobile units have left the compound and the office trailers are vacant. Only then can CES pick up its power-distribution equipment and miles of cable and move on to its next assignment.

“We’re first in and last out,” says CES VP/GM Phil Wessels. “First in because we’ve got to provide electricity for the technology that’s coming into a remote TV compound, last out because, until they all wrap up their work, we can’t power down and turn off the lights.”

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