Canada does not want travel.
The National Basketball Association has not been too keen on returning to Kansas City and putting another team into a city that could not support a franchise in the 1970s and 1980s. The Orlando Magic ownership took a look at Kansas City in the mid-2000s. The group was looking for leverage in negotiations with Orlando when ownership was seeking funding for a new building. Orlando found money and built a new facility. There were reports that Indiana’s ownership kicked the tires in Kansas City a few years ago when it was looking for a new deal with Indianapolis to stage games at the city arena. Kansas City is not getting an NBA franchise anytime soon but the mayor Quinton Lucas would put out the welcome mat for the Toronto Raptors ownership and allow the team to play at the city owned arena if the team cannot play home games in Toronto because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
The American-Canadian border remains shut except for essential business in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 not only in border towns but across Canada. Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays played home games in Buffalo, New York. Major League Soccer’s Toronto team played games in East Hartford, Connecticut. It appears Louisville, Kentucky officials have reached out to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to see if the group would be interested in playing games in town if the border remains shut. Buffalo, New York, Newark, New Jersey and Seattle, Washington could also host Raptors games. Local business and political leaders think that having Raptors games in town could show NBA officials that Kansas City would be a good NBA city. Kansas City officials know they will not get Toronto to move to the Midwest city. But Kansas City is a small market with limited TV and corporate money.