Revealed: Reasons for Hearts agreeing to kick-off time switch for upcoming Edinburgh derby
Allowing more supporters to watch their team in action was a driving factor behind Hearts agreeing to move the kick-off time for the upcoming Edinburgh derby, it has emerged.
The Tynecastle club also want to foster a relationship with Hibs so that they can benefit from future pay-per-view opportunities in the Capital’s premier fixture.
The Edinburgh rivals agreed to alter the kick-off time for the April 15 clash at Easter Road, bringing it forward to a 12.30pm kick-off. Early afternoon starts are notoriously unpopular with football supporters and many fans expressed frustration at the decision.
In a response from the acting Hearts SLO which was shared on social media, which Hearts have since confirmed to the Evening News its authenticity.
It explains the club wanted to give supporters who wouldn’t be able to attend Easter Road the chance to watch it live after it wasn’t selected for Sky Sports coverage. Though teams in the cinch Premiership are allowed to screen five matches per season through their pay-per-view channel, they are not permitted to do so for 3pm kick-offs on a Saturday.
The letter read: “The home club approached us with regards to bringing the kick off time forward in order to accommodate PPV.
"Our reasons for accepting this proposal were twofold. Firstly, with the option of PPV available, and as the game is not being broadcast on TV, this provides a large section of our supporters with a method to watch the match and cheer on the team.
"Additionally, the club will host a beamback of this Edinburgh Derby in the 1874 Bar at Tynecastle Park. This event will be free entry and details of how to register for it will be made available soon.
"Secondly, the agreement was made on a reciprocal understanding and it will allow us to explore the option of PPV for Edinburgh derbies at Tynecastle in future should the fixture details allow it.”
The last Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle was also not selected for live Sky Sports coverage. Nor was the last league derby meeting of last season. Hearts won those matches 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.