After spending the 2020/21 season playing their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Raptors will be returning home for the 2021/22 campaign.
The franchise’s preseason schedule, which was formally announced today, includes a pair of home games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. A team spokesperson confirmed to The Canadian Press (link via Sportsnet.ca) that the Raptors have received government clearance to play at home this season.
The move had been expected due to the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in both the United States and Canada, as well as the loosening of restrictions at the border. Other Toronto-based sports franchises, including the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) and Toronto FC (MLS), had resumed hosting U.S. teams at their respective home fields in recent months.
It remains unclear how many fans will be permitted to attend NBA games in Toronto to start the season, according to The Canadian Press. The Raptors’ spokesperson said the club is optimistic about holding full-capacity events at Scotiabank Arena, but those discussions are presumably ongoing.
The team spokesperson also stated that anyone entering Scotiabank Arena as a spectator or media member will be required to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a medical exemption.
The Raptors’ first regular season home game will be on October 20 vs. Washington. It will be the first time the club has played a regular season game at Scotiabank Arena in nearly 20 months.