Toronto Raptors to Start Next NBA Season as Snowbirds in Tampa

The Toronto Raptors will make their home in Tampa, Florida, for the beginning of the National Basketball Association’s 2020-2021 season, a response to border controls between Canada and the U.S.

The team made the announcement Friday, two days after the Canadian government extended the closure of its border until Dec. 21 as cases of Covid-19 have surged across the U.S.

The Raptors follow Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays in being forced out of their home city, at least temporarily, due to border-crossing restrictions. The Blue Jays called Buffalo, New York, home during baseball’s truncated 60-game season.

“The Raptors worked diligently with public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to secure a plan that would permit us to play our 2020-21 season on home soil, and on our home court at Scotiabank Arena,” said team President Masai Ujiri.

“Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa,” he said.

The NBA is tentatively expected to start its preseason Dec. 11, with a 72-game regular season due to start Dec. 22.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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