35,000 sports fans to descend on Edinburgh on Saturday
THOUSANDS of sports fans are set to flood the Capital on Saturday with four major matches being held within the space of five hours.
Football fever will descend on Easter Road and Tynecastle as Hibs take on Raith Rovers in a crunch promotion play-off at 12.30pm, while Hearts play Ross County in the Premiership at 3pm.
Also at 3pm, Edinburgh City will kick off in their play-off clash with East Stirling at Meadowbank.
And at the same time, Edinburgh Rugby play the Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield.
In total, around 35,000 fans could be in the Capital to take in the action on what will already be a busy Saturday – and marketing chiefs are expecting cash tills to be ringing.
On top of the sporting action, the annual Edinburgh and Lothians May Day march and rally begins in Johnstone Terrace at 11.30am.
Roads will be closed as the march, organised by the Trades Union Congress, makes its way along the Lawnmarket, George IV Bridge, Teviot Place, Forrest Road, Candlemaker Row, Cowgate and Pleasance.
City centre Conservative councillor Joanna Mowatt has advised football fans and marchers to be “patient and safe”. She said: “I would advise people coming into the city to use public transport, there will be a lot of parking restrictions and rolling road closures due to the march.
“The most important thing is to be both patient and safe.
“It’s worthwhile checking the appropriate websites for any travel disruptions and I would say on days like this park and rides are an appropriate option.”
Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams will be offering their usual Saturday services, while Scotrail have warned passengers that carriages will be “busier than normal”. A Scotrail spokeswoman said: “Those heading to Edinburgh for the sporting events on Saturday should be aware that trains will be busier than normal.
“We’re urging customers to check train times – and the final destination – via our website or the ScotRail app – and purchase tickets in advance to make their journeys go smoother on the day.”
John Donnelly, the chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said businesses across the Capital could look forward to an economic boost.
He said: “Whether it’s 67,000 spectators attending a sell-out game at Murrayfield, or the 400,000 extra visitors and performers that almost double the city’s population every August, thanks to careful forward planning, Edinburgh is more than equipped to be able to host and entertain the additional footfall in the city.
“It’s difficult to project the exact value busy weekends like this generate for the city but there’s a clear demonstration of the important economic value sporting events can bring in, not only for its hotels, but bars, restaurants, taxi companies and attractions.”
Police Scotland Chief Inspector Robert Paris said: “We are aware of a number of sporting events planned for Edinburgh this weekend and have ensured that appropriate resources are in place.
“In addition, we are liaising with all the relevant partner agencies as we work towards keeping people safe.”