Toronto Raptors

  Toronto Raptors  

Raptors Timeline


Toronto Raptors Team Formation

The Toronto Raptors were established on November 4, 1993, when the NBA, as part of its expansion into Canada, awarded its 28th franchise to a group headed by Toronto businessman John Bitove for a then-record expansion fee of $125 million. Bitove and Allan Slaight of Slaight Communications each owned 39.5%, with the Bank of Nova Scotia (10%), Vice President Isiah Thomas (9%), David Peterson (1%) Phil Granovsky (1%) being minority partners. The Raptors, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, played their first game in 1995, and were the first NBA teams based in Canada since the 1946 - 1947 Toronto Huskies, though the Buffalo Braves had played a total of 16 regular season games at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto from 1971 - 1975.

Rogers Centre Temporary Home

Rogers Centre was the original home of the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, who played at the venue from November 1995 to February 1999, while the Air Canada Centre was being planned and built. It proved to be somewhat problematic as a basketball venue, even considering that it was only a temporary facility. For instance, many seats that were theoretically in line with the court were so far away that fans needed binoculars to see the action. Other seats were so badly obstructed that fans sitting there could only watch the game on the replay boards. For most games, Rogers Centre seated 22,900 people. However, the Raptors sometimes opened the upper level when popular opponents came to town, expanding capacity to 29,000.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

With Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLG) aging, MLGL began planning for a new home for the Maple Leafs in the 1990s. Following years of acrimonious negotiations with the Toronto Raptors on a shared a new arena, MLGL purchased 100% of the basketball club and the arena they had begun constructing, the Air Canada Centre (ACC), from Allan Slaight and the Bank of Nova Scotia on 12 February 1998. MLGL paid a reported $467 million, made up of $179 million for the team and $288 million for the arena. Richard Peddie, who had been President of the Toronto Raptors, was retained in the merger and became MLSE's President and CEO. That July the company adopted a new name, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), to reflect its broader holdings. MLSE subsequently ordered major modifications to the original design of the ACC, which was basketball-specific, to make it more suitable for hockey.

Air Canada Centre

Construction of the Air Canada Centre was started by the Toronto Raptors under its initial ownership group headed by Canadian businessman John Bitove. Groundbreaking took place in March 1997. While construction was in progress, the Raptors and their partially completed arena were purchased by MLSE, which was contemplating building their own arena for the Maple Leafs to replace the ageing Maple Leaf Gardens. MLSE subsequently ordered major modifications to the original design, which was basketball-specific, to make the arena became more suitable for hockey. Originally planned to cost $217 million ($295 million in 2015 dollars), MLSE increased the budget to $265 million after taking control. The Raptors were twice fined a million dollars which was donated to their charitable foundation by the NBA for missing deadlines to begin construction of their new arena.

The Air Canada Centre (ACC) is a multi-purpose indoor sporting arena located on Bay Street in the South Core district of Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). It was also home to the Toronto Phantoms of the Arena Football League (AFL) during their brief existence. The arena is popularly known as the ACC or the Hangar (the latter nickname came from its sponsorship by Air Canada).

The arena is owned and operated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE), the same group that owns both the Leafs and Raptors, and is 665,000 square feet (61,800 square metres) in size. In 2008, the ACC was the fifth busiest arena in the world and the busiest in Canada. Air Canada Centre is connected to Union Station and the underground pedestrian PATH system, providing access to public transportation (TTC's Union subway station and GO Transit). There are also 13,000 parking spaces.

Bosh Leaves for Miami

Before the 2010 - 2011 season began, there was much anticipation around the league over the fates of an elite pack of free agents, featuring the likes of Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Amar'e Stoudemire. Bosh and James eventually chose to converge in Miami with Wade, and the sign-and-trade transaction that ensued resulted in the Raptors receiving two first-round draft picks and a trade exception from Miami. Prior to this, Toronto had drafted Ed Davis, also a left-handed power forward like Bosh.

Raptors Primary Logo History Raptors Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History


Raptors - The ownership group of Toronto's prospective expansion team conducted extensive marketing research across Canada in 1994 and held a nationwide vote that helped team officials come up with a list of potential nicknames. The final selection - Toronto Raptors - was unveiled on Canadian national television on May 15, 1994. Raptors, which Jurassic Park helped popularize the year before, was eventually chosen over runners-up Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas, and Terriers.

Air Canada Centre
1999 - present
1995 - 1999

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
1998 - present
Allan Slaight
1997 - 1998
John Bitove
1995 - 1997

Established: 1995

League History:
National Basketball Association
1995 - present

Team History:
Toronto Raptors
1995 - present

NBA Championships: 0

Retired Numbers:

Mascots: 1995 - present

The Official Site of the Toronto Raptors

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