Raptors will play National Basketball Association home games in Tampa, not Toronto

Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors will begin the 2020-21 campaign in Tampa, Florida, president Masai Ujiri announced in a statement Friday.

"So we'll be away from our home and our fans for now", Ujiri wrote in his statement.

Much to the disappointment of local National Basketball Association fans who were stoked earlier this week to learn that the Raps might actually start the 2020-2021 season in Toronto, Canada's federal government has denied a proposal from the team that would have allowed them to play at home.

The Raptors had laid out a competent plan, but the optics and risks associated - especially after the federal government once again extended the non-essential border travel restrictions this week - were too large to overcome.

While many fans are taking the news well, some are furious with the Canadian government for denying the team's request. Things would go back to normal in the 2021-22 season if the Raptors could return to playing games safely in Toronto.

The NBA season is scheduled to begin on December 22, with training camps starting around December 1.

Scotiabank Arena is the usual home of the NBA's lone Canadian team, but the U.S. They spent the 60-game Major League Baseball season playing home games at their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.

The plan for the Raptors to come to Sunrise, about 30 miles north of Miami, was fairly far along as well.

It appears they have found that new home.

The Toronto Blue Jays know what it feels like to be displaced. The number of cases in both nations, but particularly in the US, has surged since.

"We want to thank all levels of government and their public health officials for their dedication to this process, and for looking after the health of Canadians", Ujiri added.

Like the Blue Jays previous year, who home'd in Buffalo (and might have to do so again in 2021), the Raptors may will have to find a temporary home for the upcoming season.

Other Canadian pro teams have also had to seek alternative arrangements: the country's three Major League Soccer teams all had temporary US homes this season, and an idea bandied about for the NHL this season is to have all seven Canadian teams in one division.



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