TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Toronto Raptors will stay in Tampa to finish the remainder of the current NBA season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the team announced Thursday.
The Raptors issued a statement on Twitter saying the team decided to play their home games in Tampa for the rest of the 2020-2021 season. The organization cited “ongoing border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic” and being “mindful of public safety measures in Canada.”
The team announced last November it would start the NBA season playing home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
“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 in a statement.
While members of the Raptors organization said they enjoy playing in Tampa, they miss home and can’t wait to be back in Canada.
“Home is where the heart is, and our hearts are in Toronto,” Ujiri said. “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.”
The Raptors played a few games at the beginning of the season in front of fans at Amalie Arena, but have not had fans at recent games due to new restrictions put in place.