Toronto Raptors Can’t Play in Canada, 2020-21 Home Games Going to Florida

Welcome to the NBA, the Tampa Bay Raptors. Just kidding, sort of.

Given the current climate surrounding COVID-19, the Toronto Raptors will start the NBA season in Tampa, Fla.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri detailed the reasoning in a statement Friday morning.

With coronavirus case numbers surging throughout the United States, it makes sense that Canada is standing strong to keep the rest of the NBA teams from traveling across the border.

Ujiri’s statement makes it sound like the Raptors could play games in Toronto if circumstances improve regarding the virus.

At the moment, specifically where in Tampa the Raptors will play is unknown. (UPDATE: And now we know.)

Also as ESPN’s Rachel Nichols notes Canada currently has a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone who crosses the border.

The Raptors become the second Canadian-based North American professional sports team to play their home games in the U.S. due to COVID-19. The MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays played their home games in Buffalo.

The most interesting thing to keep an eye on is what the NHL does down the road. There are seven Canadian hockey teams.

At the moment, the NHL won’t start their season any sooner than Jan. 1, 2021, but it could continue to be pushed back if necessary.

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