Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet celebrates after scoringing against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Charlotte on December 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Chris Carlson

Raptors permitting limited number of fans to Tampa home games

Raptors permitting limited number of fans to Tampa home games

TAMPA, Fla. — The Toronto Raptors will have fans at their Florida home games this season.

The Raptors announced Tuesday they are permitting a limited number of fans at games at Tampa’s Amalie Arena, with plans to sell 3,800 seats for regular-season games but fewer than 3,200 for Friday’s pre-season game against Miami.

There will be no floor seats available, nor any seats within 30 feet of the court. Seating will be physically distanced, fans over the age of two must wear a mask, fans must complete a health survey screening upon entry, and there will be cashless payments for parking and food and beverage services.

The Raptors said there will also be enhanced surface and air disinfection systems in place.

Only a handful of NBA teams, including Orlando, Memphis, Utah, Atlanta, have announced they’ll permit fans at games this season so far, and all in limited numbers.

Friday will mark the first time the Raptors have played in front of fans since March 9 in Utah. The league shuttered two days later due to COVID-19 before restarting four months later in the NBA “bubble” at Walt Disney World.

Because of Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, Toronto is the only team in the league that is playing outside its market, for at least the beginning of the season. Had the Raptors been permitted to stay in Toronto, current restrictions on indoor gatherings would likely have prevented them from having fans at Scotiabank Arena.

Florida has been a hotbed for COVID-19, surpassing 20,000 deaths on Monday. The Sunshine State has seen more than 1.13 million total cases since the outbreak began last March.

Florida Health released COVID-19 guidelines on Tuesday about mass gatherings that recommended cancelling community-wide gatherings of more than 250 people in areas of minimal-to-moderate level of community transmission, and cancelling mass gatherings of any size in areas of substantial level of community transmission.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are allowing 25 per cent capacity at Raymond James Stadium (capacity: 65,890) for NFL games, which is the maximum allowed under NFL and CDC guidelines.

“In these unique and challenging times, the Raptors are grateful to be able to work closely with the NBA, the Lightning organization and local public health officials to create a safe opportunity for a limited number of fans to take in games,” Tom McDonald, MLSE’s vice-president of ticket sales and service, said in a statement.

“As the Raptors call Tampa home for the start of the NBA season, the team looks forward to the opportunity to thank the community for their support while continually emphasizing the important steps required of all of us for a full return of fans when it is safe to do so.”

Tickets for the first 11 games start at US$30 and go on sale on on Thursday morning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Many students and staff at St. Joseph High School are in COVID-19 quarantine. (File photo by JeffAdvocate staff)
St. Joseph High School students return to at-home learning today

Majority of students under COVID-19 quarantine

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Supreme Court ends Trump emoluments lawsuits

Outcome leaves no judicial opinions on the books

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Military to support vaccination efforts in northern Ontario Indigenous communities

Canadian Armed Forces to support vaccine efforts in 32 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London on January 20, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kirsty Wigglesworth
Shell buys European electric car charging firm ubitricity

Experts say easier access to charging facilities key to successful rollout of electric vehicles

FILE— In this Feb. 23, 2019, file photo, Vashti Cunningham poses for photographers after winning the women’s high jump final at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in New York. Cunningham is one of the athletes who will be competing in the American Track League, which opens a four-week-long series on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 in an indoor setting at the University of Arkansas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez. File)
Back on track: Competing, not cash, lures big names to meet

American Track League begins a four-week indoor series at the University of Arkansas

Eugene Levy, left, and his son Dan Levy accept the Best Comedy Series Award for ‘“Schitt’s Creek” at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday, March 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Dan Levy to make ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosting debut on Feb. 6

‘Schitt’s Creek’ co-creator to host show

Toronto Maple Leafs' Alexander Kerfoot, centre, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, right, as Noah Hanifin looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Morgan Reilly’s three assists lifts Maple Leafs to 3-2 win over Flames

Leafs 3 Flames 2 CALGARY — Morgan Reilly’s three assists helped the… Continue reading

Green Bay Packers' Adrian Amos (31) reacts after intercepting a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans during the second half of the NFC championship NFL football game in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Road warriors: Bucs win 31-26 at Green Bay, reach Super Bowl

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road… Continue reading

People arrive to be tested for COVID-19 at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, January 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Too soon to know if Canada’s COVID-19 case decline will continue, Tam says

MONTREAL — It’s still too soon to know whether the recent downward… Continue reading

Most Read