EuroCup IBC Moves to Generator Power

By Ken Kerschbaumer

After Wednesday’s power outage during the Germany/Turkey match UEFA Media Technologies says the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) will switch immediately to generator power to prevent a repeat of the power-cuts that left many of the world’s soccer fans in the dark for about 18 minutes during the match.

Alexandre Fourtoy, CEO of UEFA Media Technologies, said three microcuts of less than one millisecond were enough to cause the master control room to reboot. “This takes several minutes and this is why the signal was affected. The protection system has been defective in detecting cuts and in switching to the back-up power,” he explained.

Speaking to the media, Fourtoy added that the power was fully tested according to industry procedures before the event and was working perfectly well until yesterday.

For today’s semi-final between Spain and Russia in the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna UEFA will switch entirely to internal diesel generators to prevent any further outages. “To prevent any repeat, we want to avoid any external factors that could affect the power, so for tonight and for the final we have switched the power in the IBC to the three redundant generators,” said Fourtoy.

Fourtoy said that some countries suffered no loss of signal, including Swiss television, as they had opted for a direct uplink from the St Jakob Park stadium in Basel, where the game took place, rather than taking the signal from UEFA’s transmission centre in the IBC in Vienna. Other broadcasters including Germany’s ZDF, used the Swiss pictures with their own commentators, slightly off the pace, tagged on.

Although apologizing for the loss of signal, UEFA defended its coverage of the event, saying it had selected Host Broadcasting Services (HBS) as contractor, the same company used by FIFA for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

“The issue yesterday was purely linked to electricity, nothing to do with transmission or our partners, and what I’d like to add is that we’re extremely sorry to everyone for the minutes which were missed,” says Fourtoy. “We re-fed them to broadcasters afterwards but of course are sorry to those who were watching at the time.”