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Tory Says Don't Expect Sports Back In Toronto Until Fall, With Or Without Fans

Guess we'll keep rewatching those reruns, then.

Toronto's got pretty used to its status as a leading sports hub in recent times. Whether it's the Raptors winning the NBA for the first time ever or a teenage Bianca Andreescu winning the US Open, the city has been alive with drama over the past year or so in particular. But Mayor John Tory has some bad news about the future of sports in Toronto.

No major sport has been played in the 6ix since March, after the NBA suspended the season and the Raptors went into isolation following Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert's early positive diagnosis.

Recently, with the province of Ontario beginning to reopen for business in stages, there has been speculation that sports could return soon, albeit in empty stadia.

But Tory suggests even that might be asking too much right now.

"I would just say to people, don’t hold your hopes out that you’re going to see professional sports played in Toronto, even in front of an empty stadium, before sometime into the fall,” the mayor told Sportsnet's Writers Bloc on Friday, May 15.

"On the basketball front, there really hasn’t been any sort of specific discussion with us about how you would play games in front of no fans and make sure you complied with public health."

That's a pretty tough pill to swallow, particularly considering we should be right in the heart of the NBA and NHL postseason right now.

Tory said a couple of weeks ago that the Raptors' practise facility could reopen soon. He added on Friday that discussions with the team's GM Masai Ujiri mainly concerned that, rather than a return to playing games.

On Thursday, he had also hinted that Toronto could be considered as a "hub city" for the return of NHL action.

He addressed that again on Friday, adding that he has not heard many details of a plan.

"They described to us about how that would work with teams staying in hotels and going back and forth in buses and all of this, and we’ve really not heard much more about it.

"Suffice it to say, in respect to a lot of things, we are not contemplating any situation in which there would be large crowd scenes.”

The mayor's not giving up hope just yet, though.

"In Toronto, in stadiums, even without spectators, there’s probably a way to work it out, subject to all those questions that I asked earlier about contact between players, size of teams, arrangements on the bench,” Tory added.

"As time goes on, if you were saying 'OK, in September there’s a chance we could have some of that,’ I would not say no."

Neither would we, John. There are only so many 2019 NBA postseason reruns we can watch.