Raptors Will Begin The Season In Tampa

12:53pm: The Raptors will play their home games at Amalie Arena, reports Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (via Twitter). That’s the home of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

12:03pm: The Raptors‘ plan to start the 2020/21 season at their home arena was rejected today by the Canadian government, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. As a result the team will play its home games in Tampa, team president Masai Ujiri announced.

“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, Florida,” Ujiri said in a statement. “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. We commit to continuing our work together, planning for a safe return to playing in Toronto.”

The Raptors considered several cities, but Tampa was the most popular choice among players, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Management took that into consideration and it affected the final decision.

Canada has imposed restrictions limiting travel from the U.S. to guard against the spread of COVID-19. Those sanctions were extended today until at least December 21, according to a tweet from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for the organization,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said this week. “So you can kind of go down the line. You know, what is first and foremost? The players. What does the practice facility look like? What would be the accommodations around the medical facilities, the medical treatment? Obviously you need to have an arena that fits NBA standards. There’s a ton of broadcast issues. There’s health and safety. There’s availability for arena dates. There’s a ton of stuff there.”

The Raptors don’t have much time to work out the logistics of playing in Florida. Next season starts in 32 days and the league plans to open training camps on December 1.

The team had been hoping to reach a solution that would let it return to Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Team officials were working with the NBA on health concerns and were optimistic that they had a proposal that would meet with government approval.

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15 thoughts on “Raptors Will Begin The Season In Tampa

  1. Little_Dunker_45

    Well I just lost a pretty big bet…damn. seems weird that a team who cares about covid cases is going to…Florida

  2. Chief Two Hands

    Yeah anyone who thought that this Eastern Conference team would be based on the West Coast is a fool.

  3. Theone23

    Unfortunate for the Raptors, the only NBA team this year not playing any home games. Puts us at a significant disadvantage

  4. brewpackbuckbadg

    How will this affect the taxes they pay? Do they still pay Canadian taxes? Does Florida have state taxes? Was this the real reason they chose Tampa over other US cities?

    • El Don

      Come on dude, anyone & I mean anyone & all wanna play in Florida, seriously who cares about taxes, when for a winter you can play in the sunny Caribbean instead of the frozen hell of TOR, I mean that is a no brainer if I ever saw one my friend!

    • Lesteeez

      They will abide by Florida’s policy when it comes to income tax. Florida has no state taxes. Which would make it seem why choosing Florida was a preference for these players.

      I remember reading an article a few years back, that pro athletes pay taxes for whatever state they play in, this includes road games. So say for example the Lakers, who typically play in a heavily taxed California, played a total of 29 games in the bubble, which was in Florida they were not taxed for those games played

      • ch050995

        Saw this too I was shocked. But ya that’s part of the reason that athletes don’t actually make as much $ as their contract seems. All the fees people don’t realize. I’m not saying they don’t still get millions but currys 40 million js only like 23-25 million

  5. Luckylefty2

    This will probably entice van vleet to comeback. No state tax for 1 season, lol its better than all 4.

  6. goldenmisfit

    So, apparently Canada feels the only sport you can’t get the virus is hockey. This is such a joke.

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