Scottish basketball franchise appoints leading sports agent

18/03/2024

Scotland’s basketball franchise Caledonia Gladiators has appointed one of the country’s most experienced sports agents Raymond Sparkes as an advisor.

Raymond, who has over four decades of experience working with some of Europe’s leading sports teams and organisations, will support the club in a number of key areas, including commercial growth, player recruitment and contractual matters.

The ex-Hibernian FC commercial director, who runs ProStar Management agency in Glasgow, is a lifelong basketball fan and was previously commercial manager of the successful Falkirk-based basketball team Team Solripe from the 1980s.

Raymond recently achieved a Masters in Sports Directorship from Salford University and was one of the UK’s first licensed football agents.

Raymond, who played basketball at schoolboy level for Scotland and Great Britain, said: “I’ve loved basketball my entire life, so it’s a real honour to get the chance to support the Caledonia Gladiators as it continues to grow the sport here in Scotland.

“It’s a hugely exciting time to be joining, with both the club’s men’s and women’s teams doing well, and the club recently moving to its incredible new arena.

“I’ve got a wealth of passion and experience in professional sport, and I want to use that to help grow the club commercially and attract new revenue streams. I’ve already had very positive conversations with potential sponsors, and it’s great to see that level of interest in working with the club.

“I’m also very familiar with the European market and taking players all over the world in my role as a sports agent, which should benefit the club in attracting players here in the future.”

Raymond plans to be hands-on with his new role, alongside continuing to run his football agency.

Tony McDaid, chief executive of the Caledonia Gladiators, said: “Raymond will add significant experience and expertise in his role as consultant, so we’re really pleased to welcome him to the Caledonia Gladiators.

“He’s a huge basketball fan and lives locally, so has seen up close just how much change has happened at the club over the last year with our new arena. He’s passionate about supporting us in our future growth plans and so it’s great that we can see ourselves working closely together for the benefit of the club.

“We believe his commercial expertise will naturally help us with recruitment of players in the future, as well as help us continue to professionalise the sport here in Scotland, so it’s really positive news to be announcing this alignment and partnership.”

Raymond has worked as a football agent since 1991 after spending nine years leading the commercial department at Hibernian FC. In his role as an agent, he brokered the first two Bosman deals in the UK, including ex-Scotland hero John Collins from Celtic to Monaco.

His current clients include ex-SFA technical director Malky Mackay and Crystal Palace player Scott Banks, whilst he also helped negotiate Scotland star Kieran Tierney’s first professional contract at Celtic.

His partnership with the club comes as the men’s team currently sit in 3rdplace in the British Basketball League, while the women’s team are also positioned in 2nd spot in the Women’s British Basketball League.

The club earlier this season moved into its multi-million-pound new home at the Playsport complex in East Kilbride and have enjoyed a number of sellout games across the season. 

The stadium renovation is the first stage of a £20 million stadium project – the largest single investment in Scottish basketball history. The work has been funded by leading businessman Steve Timoney and wife Alison, owners of the club.

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

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