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Sports & Play

Toronto Raptors playoff fever hits the city

Posted by Derek Flack / April 17, 2014

Toronto Raptors PlayoffsThe Toronto Raptors playoff quest begins Saturday afternoon with a date against the Brooklyn Nets at the Air Canada Centre, and the hype machine is already in full effect. Perhaps it's because the Leafs imploded and missed the post-season, or perhaps it's because this is the Raptors' first playoff appearance in six years, or perhaps it's just because Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) does promotion so well (winning is another matter altogether, of course). Hiring Drake as an ambassador looks like a pretty good move right now. He might even help to bring a nightclub to the ACC, if you can believe it.

So while the team has already heard some complaining about the price of playoff tickets -- on average the highest in the NBA -- what most of the city is talking about is just how exciting it is to be in the playoffs. While the Leafs will always be the biggest ticket in town, don't be surprised to see our basketball team acquire a massive bandwagon this year, some of whom might even remain fans.

One lesson that MLSE learned from the Leafs' dramatic (but ultimately tragic) seven game series with Boston last year is that converting Maple Leaf Square outside the ACC into a public viewing zone is a great way to generate excitement for a playoff run. Enter Party in the Square, which will bring thousands to the ACC before home games to watch the action on the massive screen that adorns the west side of the arena.

The promotional video the team recently released hasn't hurt the excitement generation, either. Riffing at least a little on Game of Thrones, the promotional spot features cool shots of Toronto mixed with game action and, most of all, dunks. It's hard to watch it and not get at least a bit excited if you're at least a casual fan.

For all the optimism that greets the team heading into its first game against the Nets, this is going to be one tough series, with the eventual winner likely destined to take on Miami in the second round. But perhaps that's actually a really good thing. Super tight basketball games with high drama in the last couple minutes of play are great for fans.

Photo by Howard Yang in the blogTO Flickr pool.



Rob / April 17, 2014 at 02:08 pm
I like the video production, but I'm a bit annoyed that it portrays Toronto like an American city and glorifies our "ghettos" (J&F, etc.), as if these are hubs of basketball development in the city (they're not) rather than areas which simply have rapper street cred.
slimjim / April 17, 2014 at 02:16 pm
At least the video doesn't have that d-bag Drake in it.
Rick replying to a comment from Rich / April 17, 2014 at 02:22 pm
You obviously have been down in your parents basement too long.
Chester replying to a comment from Rob / April 17, 2014 at 02:50 pm
Growing up in "those" neighbourhoods people love the Raptors while most can never afford a ticket. Most games are full of the uppity up bringing along there girlfriends for a date night and neither know anything about ball. That video represents the Raptors true fan base to a T.

And it really pumped me up for Saturday. Go Raps...Going to game two!
Somebody going to be posted at the door to keep Ford out? / April 17, 2014 at 03:01 pm
I don't need the Raptors to lose because of another "drunken stupor" ACC disturbance in the stands was a distraction.

billy joy replying to a comment from Rob / April 17, 2014 at 04:08 pm
yeah, i'd rather see outdoor courts with clean laced nets in fresh parks with wading pools.. pleease
Rob replying to a comment from Rob / April 17, 2014 at 04:34 pm
I too feel that rosedale, forest hill, bridle path, etc were not represented. There needs to be some equity for wealthy white people and less coverage of those thugs.

Gooooooooooooooo sport!
avp / April 17, 2014 at 05:34 pm
go raps! ovoxo! yayayayayarararar!
avp replying to a comment from Rick / April 17, 2014 at 05:35 pm

Davyboy / April 17, 2014 at 05:50 pm
Considering the lack of playoff action in this city in the last 8 years or so I was hyped to see the Raptors make the playoffs. And then I saw the ticket prices. The greed MLSE continues to show makes me sick to my stomach. They have absolutely no regard or feel any obligation to their long-suffering fans or the community. I guess they have to pay Drake somehow.
Todd Toronto / April 17, 2014 at 06:14 pm
"Wait, so YOU'RE the North Side?!" - The Minnesota Timberwolves
oph replying to a comment from Davyboy / April 17, 2014 at 06:16 pm
It probably has to do with recouping the costs for the Leafs not making the playoffs. It's a real shame, the Raptors have a lot of loyal supporters and they are always given the short end of the stick in trying to access them. It's no surprise that Raptors fans are more economically disadvantaged than other fan bases. Not only is it hard for these people to attend games at the ACC but it's hard for them to watch them on television, with a lot of the games on Sportsnet One and TSN2, which are in more premium cable packages. Hopefully the fans will turn up at Maple Leaf Square.
hopoph replying to a comment from Rob / April 17, 2014 at 06:18 pm
If you think Jane and Finch is a "ghetto" then you really need to do some travelling in the United States. Or on second thought, for the sake of your safety, just do some research.
David replying to a comment from slimjim / April 17, 2014 at 06:48 pm
Yeah, you're right. Just have him narrating it lol. You're the D Bag you hater. What a loser.
hopoph genius replying to a comment from hopoph / April 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm
You obviously dont live at jane and finch.
McRib replying to a comment from slimjim / April 18, 2014 at 12:07 am
he's the narrator, you clown.
stopitman replying to a comment from Rob / April 18, 2014 at 02:20 am
You know that at least half of the video is clips from places in Old Toronto (Jamestown, downtown, etc.), right? There's what, one 0.5s clip of Jane and Finch graffiti. Get over yourself bud.
dh / April 18, 2014 at 09:43 am
I don't think they went "stupid" and illiterate enough with the hashtag - why not #WeDaNort or even just #WeNo or #weiner
rapfan / April 18, 2014 at 10:44 am
why don't they show jewish born drake in his forest hill neighborhood. why exploit jane and finch most ballers come from brampton and vaughn.
Cynfyah / April 21, 2014 at 02:39 pm
Can anyone confirm if Tuesday's game will be on at Yonge-Dundas as well?

Im very happy that something other than hockey is being represented I hope it keeps up.
Toronto Raptors Road Trip / July 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm
I cant wait to see Andrew Wiggins and the Canadians play with LeBron James in Cleveland! #WeTheNorth
Toronto Raptors Playoff TIckets / April 17, 2015 at 09:40 am
Who's coming to Washington to cheer on the Raptors?
Other Cities: Montreal