Canada could support the Toronto Raptors and a second franchise

Toronto Raptors: We the North (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors: We the North (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors: North Over Everything (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Why now is the time for another Canadian franchise

The Raptors managed to capture its biggest viewership ever during their storied run through the playoffs last year. In Game 6 of the NBA Finals, when the Raptors clinched the title, basketball and television history was made. The game received the largest basketball audience ever in Canada.

Across TSN, CTV, and RDS the Raptors were watched by an average of 7.7 million Canadians. Even more impressive is that 44-percent of the country’s population tuned in for a portion of the game. That’s 15.9 million viewers. It was the eleventh most-watched TV broadcast in Canada’s history.

The Raptors also set a record for most expensive NBA Finals Game 1 tickets. The average ticket price for re-sales was $1,360 USD. The average “get in” ticket cost was still a whopping $785 USD. The Finals also produced the most expensive live event ticket ever sold in Toronto.

With the excitement that was generated by the Raps and their play, Canucks from coast to coast became basketball fans. This was evidenced by the dozens of Jurassic Park viewing parties set up in cities throughout the country, which attracted thousands of fans. Now is the time to cash in on the new interest while people are still riding the high of celebrating a championship.

That level of excitement is also enough to generate corporate interest. A new franchise would be able to negotiate deals and use existing contracts with the Raptors to help set the bar. The Sun Life patch on the Raps jersey alone is paying the team a reported five million dollars per year.

The financial implications of the Raptors having so much success in last year’s playoffs saw their gains exceed $275 million in revenue. The team itself is evaluated at $1.67 billion and over the last five years, it has gained 222-percent in value, the fifth most in the league. Clearly, there is money to be made in the north.

Times have changed and so long as there is a willing audience, there should be no shortage of revenue for a new team in Canada.