There was some optimism that the Raptors would return to Toronto when the NBA reached the halfway mark of the regular season schedule if public health improved. However, with vaccine rollouts stalling and the virus still raging through both the United States and Canada, it was not feasible for the Raptors to return home, especially with travel restrictions still in place at the border.
“Florida has been really welcoming to us and we’re so grateful for the hospitality we’ve found in Tampa and at Amalie – we’re living in a city of champions, and we intend to carry on the tradition of winning for our new friends and fans here,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said.
“But home is where the heart is, and our hearts are in Toronto. We think often of our fans, of our Scotiabank Arena family, and all those we are missing back home, and we can’t wait until we can all be together again.”
Due to being temporarily relocated, the Raptors have incurred significant costs that includes relocating staff, constructing a new practice facility within a hotel ballroom, and other considerations. The state of Florida has remained open, and the Raptors did initially host a limited number of fans at games in Tampa, but that practice was shut off. There is an expectation that the NBA would cover some of the expenses.
An announcement on the NBA’s second-half schedule is expected in the coming days.
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