First look inside Caledonia Gladiators’ new multi-million-pound stadium

CGI image of the Court

THE owner of Caledonia Gladiators – leading Scottish businessman Steve Timoney – has unveiled plans for the club’s new multi-million-pound stadium.

Scotland’s only pro basketball franchise, owned by Steve and his wife Alison, has released a range of CGIs of its top-of-the-range arena, based at Playsport Scotland leisure complex in East Kilbride.

The images of the 1,600-seater temporary arena include artist’s impressions of the club’s new court, and Saltire-branded stands.

The CGIs also offer a glimpse of the new fan zone, which has seated eating areas for supporters and big screen TVs showing the courtside action.

The arena is an investment from successful businessman Steve, the founder of stock market listed group Smart Metering Systems, and owner of the five-star luxury Crossbasket Castle hotel, near High Blantyre.

Steve and Alison initially last year acquired women’s Caledonia Pride and followed up quickly by acquiring Glasgow Rocks to form the Caledonia Gladiators – Scotland’s only professional basketball club with both teams competing in the British Basketball Leagues. 

The CGIs have been released as excitement builds at the club ahead of its first match at the stadium on Thursday October 5, when the men’s team host the Surrey Scorchers in the BBL. The women’s first game will take place on 22 October against Durham Palatinates in the WBBL. 

The stadium renovation will be finished in the coming weeks. It is the first stage of a £20 million stadium project – the largest single investment in Scottish basketball history.

Work will then begin developing the main project, a new state-of-the-art purpose built 6,000-seater arena and practice and community facility at the site.

Steve said: “We’re really proud of how the new stadium is coming together, and pleased to able to share CGIs with supporters of how impressive it will look once completed. 

“It’s a hugely exciting time, with a hive of activity at the club as the final touches are put on the arena, and everyone can’t wait for fans to experience the new stadium in the flesh next month.

“We’re confident Playsport will be one of the finest basketball facilities in Europe once the final project is completed, and this stadium is a key part of those plans.”

Caledonia Gladiators Men’s head coach Gareth Murray, who recently signed a three-year contract extension, said: “”It’s fantastic to have our own arena, and the CGIs show how great it’s going to look when we play our first game here in a month’s time.

“Having a new base where both the men’s and women’s teams can train and play is so important to the club and its ambitions.

“We’re now really looking forward to building on our BBL Trophy Final success at our new home.”

Miguel Angel Ortega Marco, Caledonia Gladiators Women’s head coach, added: “Having our own stadium and training facilities is fundamental to the continued growth of the women’s game.

“The complex will be fantastic once it’s finished, as the images show, and we’re all looking forward to welcoming the people of East Kilbride and beyond to our games across the season.”

The Gladiators have ambitious plans for the next stage of the project, and ultimately the home of Team GB.

With the development of a world-class training academy, the club aims to welcome young players from across Scotland and around the globe to its state-of-the-art gym facilities, accommodation area and physio suites. 

Talks are also under way to see the facility used for music concerts and conferences, filling the gap in the wider Glasgow area for mid-to-large sized arenas.

The CGIs were produced by architects Holmes Miller, who will continue to work with the Gladiators in the coming months on the second stage of the club’s arena.

Ethan Kennedy, architect at Holmes Miller said“Basketball is a rapidly growing sport in the UK, and the Caledonia Gladiators have grand ambitions for their new home as a centre for Scottish basketball.

“We have been working tirelessly in partnership with the club to help bring these aspirations to fruition as quickly as possible.

“Through Holmes Miller’s extensive experience in sports architecture, and our work alongside event venues such as the SEC Hydro, we have been able to develop creative solutions in reusing the existing vacant spaces of Playsport.

“The team is especially proud of the new fan zone space that will be unique to this type and scale of venue and will offer an excellent fan experience and added value to the club.”

Caledonia Gladiators won their first silverware in two decades last season when they clinched the BBL Trophy Final in dramatic fashion, with a three-point shot on the buzzer winning the club the trophy 73-70.

The club are the focus of new sports documentary series “Ballers: Ball or Nothing”, which followed the club across the course of last season and will debut on BBC Scotland later this year, and later be available on BBC Three.

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