The secret behind world-class performances

Access to reliable power is vital to success

Think back to your favorite sporting moment. Perhaps it’s a goal in the final minutes of a World Cup match? A photo-finish cycle race? Or a record-breaking 100 meter sprint? And for me of course it is Italy winning the match. What if, a split-second before that crucial moment, the stadium lights all went out? A disaster for spectators in the stadium, at home and for the competitors.

Reliable power supply is the behind-the-scenes champion to ensure the best experience for everyone. We manage electrical distribution for leading venues hosting major events all over the world – keeping the lights on and managing the peak demand nearby.


The IAAF Diamond League

A great example is the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich. Here, audiences regularly experience the thrills and excitement of football matches, athletic events and concerts. It is one of the largest sports and music venues in Switzerland, hosting up to 50,000 spectators. With a power usage of 4 megawatts (the equivalent power usage of about 1200 households[1]), the stadium relies on ABB technology to efficiently manage its energy demand.

Today (24.08.17), the Letzigrund Stadium will buzz with supporters for the finals of the IAAF[2] Diamond League, bringing together the world’s top athletes to compete across 16 disciplines for the coveted Diamond Trophy – one of athletics’ most renowned one-day events. It is the legend Mo Farah’s last ever international race.


Floodlights, camera, action

ABB switchgear ensures that Letzigrund Stadium equipment, such as the display screens, the audio system and the floodlights – which consume the bulk of the energy in the stadium – are supplied with sufficient power.

The system must balance with the power requirements of the surrounding area so that the illumination of the venue does not result in blackouts elsewhere, and lead to major frustration for locals trying to watch the event on television!

Power is generated from stations such as the hydroelectric plant in the Swiss canton of Glarus. It is transmitted along high-voltage power lines into substations where it is transformed and fed into the medium-voltage network in Zurich before being distributed via transformer stations. Power voltage is transformed three times within the network before reaching the level used in the stadium.

In addition, ABB’s UPS systems provide reliable back-up power across the stadium – so even if there is a dip or surge in the energy supply, the event will go on, uninterrupted.


Smart building automation

The Letzigrund Stadium also uses an ABB KNX control system. This has many uses, including regulating room temperatures and automatically controlling lighting, doors and blinds. The system not only offers practical, time-saving, day-to-day benefits, it also supports safe evacuation procedures.


World-class performances

At ABB, we install, integrate and automate electrical systems for leading events’ venues. We make sure that power is available wherever it is needed, from displaying the current score to keeping the floodlights shining – and that’s our secret behind world-class performances.


To see the Letzigrund Stadium and ABB’s technology in action, watch our video:


[1] Household electricity consumption

[2] International Association of Athletics Federations

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About the author

Giampiero Frisio

Giampiero Frisio is Managing Director for ABB’s Smart Power business line. He was appointed to this role in 2018. The Smart Power business line provides innovative low voltage and e-mobility solutions that protect, control and connect people, sites and systems. The business line is a global leader in digital solutions for energy management, helping customers use the power of the cloud to improve productivity and operating costs. The extensive offering includes circuit breakers, power quality solutions, motor starting solutions and other essential electrical technologies, with the largest installed base of DC fast-charging stations in the world. All are manufactured with the highest quality standards in the industry. Previously, Giampiero held the role of Managing Director of ABB’s Protection and Connection business line since 2011. Giampiero has been with ABB since 1995, holding managerial positions ranging from operations to regional and global division management. He holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Pavia University in Italy and he is based in Zurich, Switzerland.
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