It could be argued that Canadian sports were hit much harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than American sports, as teams like the Toronto Raptors were unable to return to their home country for an entire season and had to play at alternate sites. Playing in Tampa was just not conducive to winning basketball.
With the Toronto Blue Jays playing in front of 15,000 fans at Rogers Centre, and with the Argonauts and Toronto FC also playing in front of a limited number of fans at BMO Field, the maximum capacity allowed at sporting events is slowly beginning to rise. This comes just in time for the Raptors’ and Maple Leafs’ 2021-22 campaigns.
With both franchises playing in Toronto next season, the most important box has been checked. The second most important issue on the agenda is the issue of capacity. Based on the latest buzz, it sounds like both franchises want the arena to be packed to the brim with fans.
Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star is reporting that the Raptors and Maple Leafs are planning to play their 2021-22 campaigns with the arena at full capacity. All attendees must be fully vaccinated to attend games, though exceptions will be made for children 11 years old or younger.
The Toronto Raptors might play in a packed Scotiabank Arena.
“With a fully vaccinated venue, it is our belief that we can safely host a full capacity event,” said MLSE’s Dave Haggith. “With tickets on sale, we are planning for eventual full capacity in 2021 and our ticketing rollout has built-in flexibility so we are ready for potential scenarios.”
Last year, the Raptors lost more games at their temporary Florida home than they did at Scotiabank Arena in the prior two seasons combined. It’s safe to say that picking up one of the best home-court advantages in the game will likely have a positive effect on the win-loss record.
The Raptors haven’t played at home since February 28, 2020, when they lost to the Hornets. Scotiabank hasn’t been full of fans since March 10, when the Leafs beat the Lightning 2-1. With vaccination rates continuing to steadily climb, normalcy is starting to return to the province and the country as a whole.
While some may have doubts over an indoor event with that many people in it, making sure that entrants are vaccinated is a great way to make sure everyone can enjoy their favourite team safely and securely. If the government approves this plan, look for Scotiabank Arena to be rocking once again.