Caledonia Gladiators set for first game in new multi-million pound arena

Scotland's only pro-basketball team will open their season against the Surrey Scorchers in East Kilbride on Thursday night.

Scotland’s only professional basketball team are preparing for their first league game in a new multi-million pound stadium in South Lanarkshire.

Some 1,600 fans are set to watch the Caledonia Gladiators take on the Surrey Scorchers in their season opener at the PlaySport Scotland leisure complex in East Kilbride.

The stadium renovation is the first stage of a £20m stadium project – the largest single investment in Scottish basketball history – and came together in just six months.

Supporters arriving for the club’s first BBL game at the stadium on Thursday night will get the chance to experience the club’s new fan zone, which has a variety of hospitality options, seated eating areas and big screen TVs.

Fans will then go courtside to the Saltire-marked stands for their game against Surrey Scorchers, which begins at 7.45pm.

The women’s team’s first game will later take place on October 18 against SL Benfica in a European tie.

The work has been funded by leading businessman Steve Timoney and wife Alison, owners of the club.

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Steve said: “Our new stadium looks incredible, and we’re really pleased with the finished result. It’s been a very intense period getting the stadium ready, but it’s definitely been worth the wait.

“We’re also really proud of our new fan zone, which we believe will really add to the matchday experience for our fans.”

“Scotland’s never had a purpose-built dedicated basketball arena like this before, and we’re excited to finally welcome our supporters for a league match this Thursday.”

Caledonia Gladiators Men’s head coach Gareth Murray said: “All the players are really looking forward to our first league game here this week and playing in front of the Gladiators crowd.

“The facilities are top class, and we feel they can help us push on even further this season.”

Miguel Angel Ortega Marco, Caledonia Gladiators Women’s head coach, added: “Having our own stadium, where we can train whenever we want, is going to be so important.

“Everyone in the team can’t wait to play here for the first time later this month. It will be a really special occasion.”

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.

With the development of a world-class training academy, The Gladiators aim 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.

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 debuted on BBC Scotland and BBC Three in recent weeks.

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