Learn how Cat® Generator Sets provide backup power during major sporting events.

Cat® equipment has been involved in the construction and maintenance of sports venues for nearly 50 years. What many people don’t know, however, is that Cat Generator Sets also have a long history providing dependable power at sporting events. In Calgary, Canada, in 1988, we showed the world how Cat power could effortlessly provide both primary and backup power to television cameras, commentators’ booths and media centers to broadcast the Big Event to the world.

Imagine sports broadcasts without such failsafe mechanisms in place. Millions of eyes around the world are glued to their television sets, watching a figure skater perform. Suddenly the image goes black, and a message flashes across the screen: "We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by." Cat Generator Sets work to ensure such catastrophes don’t happen.

In 1988 a $1 million (Canadian) contract was awarded to lease and service 27 generator sets – mainly as primary and backup power. Officials chose our products and dealers because the choice meant providing new, quality equipment and superior product support – which is crucial. The television networks insisted on the contract.

Cat Gen Sets were also used to provide electricity for food tents, lights for the hockey and skating arena, electronic timing for racing events and power for scoreboard displays. 

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Cat® 3508 Generator Set - Model Views, 1985.

During the event, seven Cat dealer technicians worked both 12-hour days and weekends to service the generator sets. An additional four technicians were on call as well. At the Roundup Center, which housed the international press corps and ABC media, two 3508 Generator Sets ran in sync with the utility power to guarantee that electrical power was always available – 24 hours a day.

Twice during the games, utility power to the Roundup Center failed.

"The [control panel] buzzer went off, so I knew something was wrong," said a technician at the site. "The gen sets kicked in full power until the utility company's power stabilized. Everything worked 100 percent just like it was supposed to."

For the most part, though, the days were long, sometimes even dull, for mechanics who "babysat" the generator sets.

The Cat dealer’s strategy worked so well it has been replicated at many future games.
That’s what we call Built for It.


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3508 Engines at work, 1986.

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