HIBS’ play-off decider against Kilmarnock will not be beamed live on television today after the Easter Road side put the kibosh on BT Sport’s plans to show the match.
The broadcaster intended to show the match, which is arguably the most eagerly-awaited encounter of the Scottish Premiership season, but it emerged last night that Hibs had already fulfilled their contractual obligations with regard to showing their home games and were in a position to decline BT Sport’s request to broadcast today’s match.
Under the terms of the contract, only six games must be shown live per season from the home ground of any one club. Hibs have already staged seven matches which have been shown by either BT Sport or Sky, which meant special dispensation was required from the Scottish Professional Football League and the Easter Road club to show this afternoon’s showdown game.
Hibs, who have reduced ticket prices to £15 and £5, would have received no extra income had they agreed for the game to be shown and were hoping that their stance would result in a bumper attendance.
“We have already more than met our contractual obligations with regards to television broadcasting,” a Hibs spokesman said. “It is a vital game and we are hoping for a large turnout.”
A BT Sport spokesperson said they had “not gained a response from the SPFL that indicates an approval from the home club”. With many neutral fans riled by Hibs’ decision, the SPFL described the situation as “disappointing”.
However, Frank Dougan, the former treasurer of the Hibs supporters’ club and a season ticket holder, was adamant his club had done the right thing.
“It is one of the best decisions they have ever made,” said Dougan. “If it gets a few more fans out of the pub and out of their living rooms and into Easter Road, then it will have been vindicated. Football is ruled enough by television as it is.”