Toronto Raptors to begin upcoming season playing out of Tampa Bay | Offside

Ruben Hill
November 21, 2020

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they will begin the 2020-21 National Basketball Association season playing their home games in Tampa. hours after the Canadian government reportedly ruled they could not host home games up north.

Like the Blue Jays a year ago, 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.

An official familiar with the federal government's decision told The Associated Press on Friday there is too much COVID-19 circulating in the United States to allow for cross-border travel that is not essential.

"These conversations were productive, and we found strong support for the protocols we put forward", Ujiri continued. Ultimately, the current public health situation facing.

A federal government source, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly on Friday, confirmed the team was denied.

"So we'll be away from our home and our fans for now", Ujiri wrote in his statement. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, this is simply not possible as the Canada-US border remains closed. "For now, I'll ask you to cheer us from afar and we'll look forward to the day we are together again".

The Raptors are expected to play their games at the Tampa Bay Lightning's Amalie Arena.

Although there is optimism long-term about the vaccines, and although the National Basketball Association is full-speed ahead on its plan to open the 2020-21 season on December 22, that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of flies in the ointment that lie ahead.

The Canadian government had been reviewing a proposal from the National Basketball Association and the Raptors. Other U.S. cities known to have had interest in serving as the Raptors' temporary home were: Nashville, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; and Kansas City, Missouri. Things would go back to normal in the 2021-22 season if the Raptors could return to playing games safely in Toronto.

The Toronto Blue Jays know what it feels like to be displaced.

"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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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