TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Amid growing concerns over the coronavirus in Canada, the Toronto Raptors announced Friday that the team will begin playing the upcoming NBA season in the Sunshine State.
The team confirmed on Twitter Friday that it plans to start the regular season in Tampa. An exact location where the team will play is unknown.
“The Raptors worked diligently with public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to secure a plan that would permit us to play our 2020-21 season on home soil and on our home court at Scotiabank Arena. These conversations were productive, and we found strong support for the protocols we put forward,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “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.”
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor issued a statement shortly after the announcement to welcome the NBA team to the city.
“The Toronto Raptors and their fans will not be disappointed here in Tampa Bay. Not only do we have the Stanley Cup Champion Lightning, the World Series runner-up Rays and the powerhouse Buccaneers, we’re going to have a chance to watch the magic of the Toronto Raptors play right here in our backyard,” Castor wrote. “And although things may look a bit different this season, we look forward to cheering you on. Welcome to the Sunshine State!”
The NBA’s regular season begins on Dec. 22.
This story is being updated. Please check back soon.
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