Early starts for midweek games

Follow your HeartsHearts are looking at ways to encourage more families to come along to games. Their next attempt is to bring forward kick-offs to 7pm for the friendly game they have lined up against Christophe Berra and his Wolves teammates on Tuesday 7 August. The SPL are also looking at ways to increase gates and will be watching Hearts experiment with interest. Of course, scheduling games for league fixtures will be affected by the need to consider travelling supporters and the demands of TV broadcasters.  England's Football League scheduled certain matches for earlier kick-offs last season with a degree of success in terms of attendances,

The SPL's marketing and communications manager, Greg Mailer said: "
It's certainly something we will look at if the clubs involved in a specific midweek fixture were both up for it, and if it didn't affect our TV coverage. We are working with all the clubs to look at how we can make the game more attractive, in particular to families. The subject of kick-off times came up at a recent meeting and the possibility of 7pm kick-offs was floated. We would need to look at the specifics of an individual fixture, making sure all the different stakeholders were taken into account. But we are working hard to try and bring in more families to SPL games so earlier kick-offs are something we will consider. "The SPL has the final say on all fixture matters but we've shown in the past that we want to work with clubs and broadcasters to be flexible where we can. Obviously, we need to look at the specifics of any match and we would be open to looking at that." A Hearts spokesperson said: "We're trying out a 7pm kick-off time because we believe it is a more friendly time for families according to research we've done. If it proves to be successful as it has for certain Football League fixtures in England, we may try it out for a midweek fixture next season."

The Wolves friendly is part of a double header as Blackburn Rovers will be paying a visit on 7 August. Hearts are offering packages to supporters wishing to see both games. Season ticket holders can see both Wolves and Blackburn for a combined price of just £20; Under-18s and OAPs for £14, with under-12s able to purchase their tickets for a combined £5. Non-season ticket holders will pay £25 in total to see both games, under-18s and OAPs £18. A Hearts spokesperson said: "
We are keen to see as many supporters as possible for the first games back at Tynecastle and we're delighted to offer such good value ticket prices. The games will give the majority of fans a chance to see Hearts' new signings for the first time including Kevin Kyle and Darren Barr and it also provides first class opposition for the team against Premier League opposition. We'll also be welcoming back Christophe Berra to Tynecastle for the first time since he left in January 2009 to join Wolves and the arrival of his new team-mate Steven Fletcher will also add to the occasion. Blackburn have a host of stars such as Morten Gamst Pedersen and Franco Di Santo and we are also looking forward to welcoming Sam Allardyce and his team to Tynecastle."