Scotland’s only professional basketball franchise Caledonia Gladiators are to invest over £20 million in a new arena project.
The two-stage stadium development will see Scotland’s only professional basketball teams, the Caledonia Gladiators men and women, initially move into an 1,800-seater temporary stadium, based at PlaySport Scotland leisure complex in East Kilbride, later this summer.
In 2024, work will then begin on the main project, a new state-of-the-art purpose built 6,000-seater arena and five-court practice and community facility at the site, which is due to be completed in 2026.
Steve Timoney and wife Alison, owners of the club, made the announcement ahead of the men’s team’s first BBL Trophy Final in nine years, when they will face off against Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday 26 March at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena in front of a sell-out 6,000 crowd.
As the popularity of the sport grows across the country – the number of registered basketball players in Scotland almost doubled between 2014 and 2019 from 4,161 to 8,242 – the Gladiators have ambitious plans for the project, including aspirations to see the stadium become the finest basketball facility in Europe and ultimately the home of Team GB.
With the development of a world-class training academy, the club aim to welcome young players from across Scotland and around the globe to state-of-the-art gym facilities, accommodation area and physio suites.
Timoney, a Glasgow based businessman, said:
This is a hugely exciting moment for the future of the Caledonia Gladiators. Our new base at PlaySport will go on to become one of the finest basketball facilities in Europe once it is completed in 2026. It includes plans for a class-leading academy, which will train youngsters from Scotland and across the world with the aim of developing them into elite players.
We believe our new facility has the potential to help Caledonia Gladiators become one of the most successful men and women’s teams in the BBL and WBBL, with ambitions to play at the top level in Europe. It’s a great time for the club, with our BBL Trophy Final match round the corner, and we’re all hugely looking forward to that match.
Gareth Murray, Caledonia Gladiators head coach, said:
We’re really proud to be announcing our new plans for the club. Given the current pressures of working between The Emirates Arena for the men’s team, and The Lagoon in Paisley for the women’s team, it was vital we found a permanent home, so this is a really positive step forward.
It’s such an exciting time for everyone involved with the Caledonia Gladiators, and I know our team are all looking forward to playing in the new arena. All our focus now is on winning the BBL Trophy later this month, which would be a huge moment for the supporters and everyone at the club.
Talks are also under way to see the facility used for music concerts and conferences, filling the gap in Glasgow for mid to large size arenas.
Miguel Angel Ortega Marco, Caledonia Gladiators Women’s Head Coach, added:
This is great news for the women’s team and the wider club. The new facilities will be hugely impressive, and a real boost for the club in attracting the best talent to both our women’s and men’s teams.
PSAM editor John Sheehan caught up with Yves De Cocker, Managing Director of PitchTecConcept, who explains how his company bridges the gap between sports organisations and the technology used in the playing surface industry.
PSAM Presents... PitchTecConcept from Hemming Group Video on Vimeo.
The interview covers:
Yves 20+ years industry leading experience in the evolution of hybrid grass, trends he has noticed and some of the notable projects he has been involved with
The key reasons for Yves launching PitchTecConcept
Common mistakes often made with playing surface management
The steps he offers as a bridge between the industry and the end user
Advice to clubs looking to maximise their event calendars without compromising on the performance of their playing surface