Raptors to open 2020-21 season in Tampa
Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images News / Getty

The Toronto Raptors will begin the 2020-21 campaign in Tampa, Florida, president Masai Ujiri announced in a statement Friday.

The Canadian federal government denied the Raptors' plan to commence their season in Toronto amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Toronto Star's Doug Smith.

"We want to thank all levels of government and their public health officials for their dedication to this process, and for looking after the health of Canadians," Ujiri said.

"We commit to continuing our work together, planning for a safe return to play in Toronto. And as an organization, we remain committed to doing all we can to promote and demonstrate public health measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Canada."

The Raptors will play at Amalie Arena, which houses the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports.

Ujiri said earlier this month that the franchise was hopeful it would be able to play at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto but added he understood "public health is the priority."

The Raptors are the only NBA franchise based outside of the U.S. Ongoing restrictions upon entering Canada would have made it impossible for the club to play out of Toronto next season; the Canada-U.S. land border has been closed to nonessential travel since March, and anyone entering the country in any other manner must quarantine for 14 days.

Training camps are scheduled to begin Dec. 1, and a 72-game regular season will tip off Dec. 22.

Multiple U.S. cities had been reported as candidates to host the Raptors next season, including Newark, Kansas City, and Nashville.

The Blue Jays were also forced to relocate to the U.S. for the 2020 MLB season, settling on their minor-league ballpark in Buffalo after the federal government denied their request to play in Toronto. Meanwhile, Toronto FC have been playing their MLS home games in East Hartford, Connecticut.

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Raptors to open 2020-21 season in Tampa
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