Gearhouse Power - a Gearhouse South Africa company - supplied power distribution throughout the hospitality suites in all 4 stadiums involved in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup - Ellis Park, Johannesburg, Loftus Versveld in Pretoria, Royal Bafokeng in Rustenberg and Mangaung Stadium in Bloemfontein.
The process began 2 years ago, when Gearhouse Power (GHP) was approached by The Power Company(TPC) – an Austrian based power distribution company who specialise in sporting events - to create a partnership for the FIFA 2010 World Cup and German-based Match Hospitality, the organisation responsible for all official FIFA hospitality areas .
GHP has lots of experience mainly in live events and providing the bulk power supply for live stage events , There is limited experience in the powering of bars and kitchens for festivals, but on a small scale. Nothing on this size scale since the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
A partnership was created between Gearhouse Power and The Power Company to facilitate this contract. Normally used to servicing the traditional heavy industrial requirements of live events and shows, Gearhouse Power's Antony Sackstein dispatched a team to Basel, Switzerland for the UEFA Euro 2008 football tournament – Here they worked with European crew learning and gaining experience in these type of events , observing and learning the finesse and requirements needed to work in this environment.
The two companies joined forces to create a delivery plan to provide all necessary specifications and services for the Confederations Cup.
In April 2009 the 2 companies were involved in a demo for Match and FIFA at Ellis Park which covered three different levels of hospitality - commercial, business and VIP - and included an 'as real' set up, complete with caterers, branding, etc., to demonstrate how efficiently the different areas would work. This was highly successful, and from there, GHP and TPC put their blueprints into reality.
Sackstein and Mike Knezevic, project manager from TPC specified all the technical infrastructure required, and activated a complete logistics plan for staff, accommodation, transport, etc - also an important element of the project.
GHP and TPC supplied technicians and stage hands at all 4 of the stadiums , while Sackstein and Knezevic spent a hectic 2 weeks floating between all 4 venues taking care of last minute problems caused by changes ensuring the installation was on schedule , the service delivery was up to standard and generally ensuring all went well.
The LOC (local organising committee) provided the bulk power (and backup) into the buildings as well as bulk secondary distribution - up to the kitchens and service areas. From here, Gearhouse Power distributed to a myriad of appliances including TVs, coffee machines, hot plates, food warmers, microwaves, fridges, freezers, coolers, etc. They also distributed TV signal cables throughout all the hospitality spaces.
Neat cable management - and not being able to drill holes or run the shortest or most convenient routes - was a major challenge, and required some lateral thinking and improvisational genius!
The statistics included the provision of 3000 single phase extension cables, 60 x 125 Amp distros, 36 x 32 Amp 'hot' power distros, 13 x 63 Amp hot power distros and over 600 RF signal TV cables feeding over 400 TVs supplied by Sony
They powered over 400 food warmers and 260 odd appliances including industrial ovens, fridges and dishwashers, both auto and manual. Sourcing the vast heterogeneity of plug/socket adapters and step-up/down voltage converters needed to connect the assorted devices - which appeared from all over the world - plus dealing with many last minute requests on this front was another exacting element of the project
The physical installation process was instigated on a fast-track timescale, with access to the stadiums only possible a week before the tournament opened, and each one handed over and 'ready-to-rock' just 24 hours before the Opening Ceremony.
"The biggest challenge was without doubt engaging in a completely new environment and culture of supplying hospitality power distribution. The substantial time and resources investment has really been invaluable as we've all learned and gained a massive amount of knowledge from the experience". says Sackstein.