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The Raptors Will Begin The 2020-21 Season In Tampa Because Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

As the Toronto Blue Jays showed during the 2020 Major League Baseball season, the Canadian government has some pretty understandable reservations about professional sports teams bouncing back and forth between the United States and their country. The Blue Jays played in Buffalo in response to this issue, and as we learned on Friday afternoon, the Raptors will head a little farther south when the 2020-21 NBA season tips off.

The Raptors announced that their search for a new temporary home will lead them to Tampa. It’s unclear if this will be the arrangement for the entire campaign, but as team president Masai Ujiri mentioned in a statement, this decision was made after consultation with public health officials about the feasibility of playing in Toronto.

Ujiri had previously mentioned that the team was going to try and exhaust all of its options before looking elsewhere next season, writing an open letter to Raptors fans that said Toronto is “where we want to be.” It’s unclear if any other places, like Seattle or Louisville, were viewed as potential homes for the team for the time being, but Tampa does have a basketball-ready facility in the Yuengling Center, where the University of South Florida plays its basketball games.

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