Raptors won't start NBA season in Toronto, plan to call Tampa home


The Toronto Raptors will start their season playing home games in Tampa, Fla., next month after being unable to come to an agreement with the federal government to play at Scotiabank Arena during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

The Raptors had hoped to start the 2020-21 campaign at home despite rising numbers of COVID-19 cases at home and in the United States.

But the spikes in cases, the Canadian government's restrictions around cross-border travel and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering Canada proved too much for the country's only NBA team.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri said the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the team's urgent need to find a place to play, led to the decision to announce Tampa as a temporary home.

The NBA tips off the 2020-21 season Dec. 22, with training camps opening Dec. 1.