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Power Behind March Madness

By Maddie Ogletree

What goes on behind the scenes of March Madness often goes unmentioned. The action is up front, while the lights and cameras are working hard in the background. Some major aspects of the March Madness experience happen without a hitch, and sometimes they’re the hardest to manage. No wonder there was a lighting mishap during the Super Bowl in 2013.

Amidst all the madness this March, take a moment to notice the electrical components powering the stadiums, such as:

AV Systems

The music and sound effects heard during the event can all be attributed to the thousands of cables running throughout stadiums across the country, linking the AV control rooms to the speakers above the court. When stadiums are built, every single cable is intricately installed to enable you to experience the sights and sounds of March Madness the way you’re able. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, host of the Final Four and championship games, reports about 764,000 cables in their audio and video setup alone!

Back Up Generators

To ensure that the arena doesn’t go dark mid-play, backup generators are a must to make sure everything runs smoothly during the games. It might not be the first concern to pop into your mind, but in an emergency or accidental power failure backup generators are the heroes of the game. Most arenas are prepared for these events and have multiple generators ready to go in the event of a power failure.

Lighting

How the stadium stays perfectly lit is not often considered, but it’s a necessity for these games that can be tough to power. Recently, NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas updated their lighting to a more sustainable system. The new system draws 337 kilowatts of energy at full power – 60 percent less than their previous system. That’s huge, especially when their stadium now houses more than 65,000 LEDs. Imagine keeping all of those lights functioning properly during the entire South Regional game.

Video Boards

Keeping up with the scores at games is easy with the giant screens present at every modern sports arena. But most people don’t realize the energy that is needed to show those replays on the big screen. While it does take quite a bit of energy, arenas are starting to focus on using sustainable sources of energy. The Moda Center, which will be hosting second and third round games for this year’s March Madness, purchases 100 percent renewable energy programs.