During a sport event blackout is something extremely harmful and potentially dangerous.

Last May we were involved in supplying a 1600 kVA generator for a Qatar Stadium. 

For the occasion I was able to interface directly with FIFA to get information about the specificities required for the use of a generator during FIFA events.

FIFA introduces the subject in a very clear way:

"The delay or cancellation of an event due to the lack of electrical power is unacceptable."


A careful evaluation of the reliability of the main source is useful to the designer to determine capacity and size of all the  backup equipment.

We therefore wanted to analyze FIFA requirements and outline possible solutions, here is the result:

It is  FIFA   itself who  suggested this table.


Practical solutions for a Backup System in a stadium

The first solution represents the main power line disposed in two sources, a preferred and an alternate one (diagram a). 

Diagram A

Diagram A

In the second solution both utility services are in use and can optionally be configured as main and reserve with the help of manual or automatic switches. (Diagram b).

Diagram B

Diagram B

In the event of a Network failure, back-up power should start immediately, but there will be a time leg due to the seconds needed to start up the fuel and the load switching and takinf off, therefore, the back-up must consider and include some autonomy while the generator starts up since field lighting, which is typically a high-intensity discharge (HID), once it turns off, it requires several minutes to restart and the broadcasting will be interrupted.

This timing range is covered in a variety of ways, including special generators (rotating UPSs) and Uninterruptable Power supply system (UPS).

FIFA establishes a clear requirement of autonomy regarding the amount of back-up power that should have the capacity to operate for a minimum of three hours during an outage.

A stadium is considered a "high availability" system, or a system that is continuously operating for a long period of time.

The measure of the reliability of a system like that of a stadium can be expressed by referring to an ideal percentage of 100% of the use.

The maximum use percentage of the system called "five nines" or 99,99% means a downtime of only five minutes per year.

During a season, a stadium will definitely experience far more than five minutes of stop for repair and maintenance. However, idle times during an event must be zero for some equipment to avoid any interruption. This would require a power of absolute continuity.

Other equipment could tolerate the startup time of the generator (about ten seconds) and some parts of the stadium could tolerate even more.

Hence, the classification of load types should be considered to determine the amount of capacity and size of the redundant units of back-up generators and the UPS system.

Below we find what might be a breakdown of utilities according to a priority classification:

Security (generator available in 10 seconds)

- fire-fighting pump

- fire alarm and detection system

- smoke ventilation systems

- lifts dedicated to fire prevention

- eventual illumination of medical department

Event and Security (Generator UPS available in less than 60 seconds)

- indoor and outdoor lighting

- special departments (data / telecommunications)

- PBX telephony

- security and access monitoring

- giant video screens

Essential event (generator in less than 90 seconds)

- tables

- control room and control panel

- turnstile monitoring system

- police station

Critical event (UPS and generator, zero idle time)

- event lighting

- game control center

- police control illumination

Each section of the load would involve different transfer, wiring, and distribution systems, and the UPS may be static or rotating but will still require additional back-ups from the generator or a battery pack with at least four hours of autonomy.

 The most famous blackout in the world of sporting events

Surfing the web reveals news of singular and sudden blackouts  you can not imagine they can happen, each caused by different and more or less unpredictable incidents.


NEW ORLEANS During the second half of Sunday's Super Bowl, lights on half of the Superdome roof suddenly turned off. Internet connections in the press room stopped and lights off. After the sudden interruption, many of the 71.024 viewers began to murmur. The failure of about two minutes was one of the most incredible moments in the history of the Super Bowl.

In 2014 to SAN PAOLO A few minutes from the start of the World Cup's inaugural race between Brazil and Croatia, in the plant vip sector is lacking electricity and a generator is literally burning.  

In 2015 in Cagliari During a luxury friendly match between Cagliari and Real Zaragoza, after a few minutes the game is suspended because the two headlamps suddenly go out. The blackout continues until the end of the first half and the referee decides to resume the game even if the lighting is only partial.

In 2016 in Palermo During the match between Palermo and Torino, for a few minutes, due to a blackout, some of the lights at the Barbera Stadium have stopped working. Rosanero fans answered with irony trying to light up the cell phone and they chanted a chorus: "Zamparini pays the light" ...

In 2011 in Padua A high-ranking clash on the Euganean Stadium on the Calcio Serie B between the Padua and Turin captain, started to look fought and enjoyable, but that would have turned out to be a real mockery for the Grenades.

During the second race of the race, unusual extra-sporting events are taking place, affecting the game: the lights of the Euganean race continue to fail, with first partial and then total blackouts. Just during the first of these, partial, comes the grid of Ruopolo's advantage that mocks Coppola's grenade goalkeeper who complains of low visibility.

Turin appealed against Padua who there is a danger of a 25-30. 000 euro.

Former Padua and Turin, Roberto Muzzi declared: "Saturday was a great match as far as it was played. The black-out? These things happen, it can happen. "

In 2017 in the race between Flamengo and Vasco da Gama , A game destined to go to history as one of the most incredible. During the race a Blackout left the stadium lit up exclusively by the fans' smartphone lights on the stairs.

Surely in all above mentioned cases more than anyone has generated beyond the obvious economic losses a serious image damage that does not erase certain paying money.

How important is a generator in a stadium?

The answer to this question is "five nine".

Rather the right question would be how much the security and structure manager is willing to risk? What's more, how much is the Calcio team playing matches against you?

Anyone who is not willing to risk turns to a specialized company and is concerned about having the best backup system possible.

We can clearly say that in a structure such as the Juventus Stadium (Allianz Sadium) the precautions taken in this regard are definitely higher than those adopted at other stages where we are often relied on generators to use Shipyard, installed as if there was no tomorrow And perpetually in derogation to something.

It smiles like the unsuccessful generators with obsolete technology, which requires an operator to go directly to the generator to check fuel levels and operational status, while the rest of the world using up-to-date technology is sitting In a steering cabin to handle everything comfortably from a terminal.

It's as if to see if there's still fuel in the car you need to get out of the car and personally test the level in proximity through the charging cap!

Who knows how many times we hear the choir from the Curve

Or some of the hopeless romantic presidents like to see the stadium lit  by the fans' cell phones.

Power Generator installed at Alessandria Stadium (Italy).

Power Generator installed at Alessandria Stadium (Italy).