ONE OF Scotland’s most successful businessmen and the founder of stock market listed group Smart Metering Systems is to make the largest single investment in Scottish basketball history, as part of a £20 million new basketball arena project for the Caledonia Gladiators.
Steve Timoney and wife Alison today announced a two-stage stadium development that will see the Caledonia Gladiators, 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 and Alison initially last year acquired Caledonia Pride, the women’s franchise and followed up quickly acquiring Glasgow Rocks to form the Caledonia Gladiators – Scotland’s only professional basketball club with both teams competing in the British Basketball Leagues.
The men’s team will compete in the club’s first BBL Trophy Final in nine years against Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday 26 March in front of a sell out 6000 crowd.
Caledonia Gladiators, has ambitious plans for the project, including aspirations to see the stadium become the finest facility for basketball in Europe and ultimately become the home of Team GB.
It will house a world-class training academy, with the aim of welcoming young players from across Scotland and all around the globe, as well as a dedicated accommodation area, gym facilities and physio suites.
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.
The basketball side is currently preparing for the 6000 plus sell-out BBL Trophy Final due to be held at their current home The Emirates Arena, in Glasgow, on Sunday March 26.
Owner Steve Timoney 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 today.
“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.”
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.”
The club is due to begin playing matches in their temporary stadium in August next year.
Caledonia Gladiators secured their place in the BBL Trophy Final after defeating Derby Trailblazers 83-65 earlier this month in the semi-final.
It is the first time they have reached the Final since they lost 83-76 to Worcester Wolves in 2013/14.
It is also a chance for the club to win their first silverware since they won the BBL Playoffs in 2002/3.