The city of Tampa reportedly dominates the pool of candidates likely to host the Toronto Raptors for their home games in the 2020-21 season.
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According to the Sportsnet network, which cited several sources familiar with the matter, the Florida market could be considered in the first place if the NBA team is unable to evolve in the Queen City during the campaign to begin on December 22. The club will have to convince the three levels of government to do this.
“Ideally the Raptors could play in Toronto for the next year or so, but if that is not possible, we have a great interest in meeting and exceeding their expectations as an alternative venue,” said the executive director of the athletic committee. of Tampa Bay, Rob Higgins, in an email to Sportsnet. We have enjoyed our first discussions with this organization and are ready to help if necessary. ”
Also, a committee of twenty people is working on the file at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, owner of the concession. The plan would be to postpone the decision to be taken as much as possible. The idea of having training camp and playing in Toronto would obviously mean that the players would enjoy top-level facilities, while still being close to their families.
Now, according to a source, the Raptors won’t want to hold their camp there without having a guarantee that they can play their local games there afterwards.
“If we’re here for training, we’re here for the full schedule,” she said. We’re not going to come back and then find another place to play. ”
The case of the Blue Jays
The problem affecting professional basketball training is much the same as that experienced by the Blue Jays this year. The team had to move their homes to Buffalo for the 2020 campaign, being unable to convince the federal government. However, she had been able to train in her usual quarters at Rogers Center previously.
The Jays had offered authorities a plan similar to that presented by the Raptors. Among other things, they suggested that the visiting team passing through Toronto be locked in a bubble as soon as they arrive at the airport.
“I empathize with them about the challenge of balancing the obvious need to respect public health and trying to come up with a win-win solution at an important time,” Les Jays president said. , Mark Shapiro.
The cities of Buffalo, Newark, Nashville, Louisville and Kansas City have also been mentioned to help out the Raptors.