Basketball in Toronto has seen numerous achievements in recent times, none bigger than Canada's first NBA championship, of course. But now, a longstanding record has reportedly come to an end. The Toronto Raptors sellout streak was brought to an end after an incredible 245 games on December 1, 2019.
Sunday night's win over the Utah Jazz saw the Raps fail to sell out their Scotiabank Arena home for the first time in over five years.*
Since a 104-100 win over the Orlando Magic on November 11, 2014, Canada's team had left no tickets unsold for any regular-season or postseason game.
Back then, the Raps were celebrating their 20th season having just won a first Atlantic Division title since 2007. The Scotiabank Arena, of course, was still known as the Air Canada Centre. How times can change.
Fast-forward to this month and they were closing in on 250 successive home games sold out, but the run has now been halted after 245.
As reported by Associated Press journalist Ian Harrison, Sunday night saw the record end with a below-capacity crowd of 18,132.
There may have been empty seats in the five-year run of sellouts, of course, as the sellout marker is determined by tickets sold rather than filled seats.
If you're scoring at home, the #Raptors' streak of consecutive home sellouts ended tonight after 245 games (incl. p… https://t.co/QimBUyYYIC— Ian Harrison (@Ian Harrison)1575258399.0
As for what might have been a contributing factor to the failure to sell out, we can't imagine it's that Toronto is bored with the team's success already.
It seems likely Mother Nature had her say. The Ontario winter storm yesterday was just too much, causing chaos all over the province.
Residents were warned of the major ice storm that came our way, so it makes some sense that fans would be less inclined to show up than normal.
The Raptors considerate of the poor driving conditions blowing out the Jazz so people can start their drives home at an earlier time— a. :( PS5 OWNER (@a. :( PS5 OWNER)1575245552.0
The Raptors ultimately beat the Jazz 130-110 for their 15th win of the season. And, despite the lower attendance, the game had some pretty funny moments.
None more so than when Serge Ibaka made an attempt to pass the ball to Fred VanVleet who found himself on the sidelines instead of in play.
But there's no doubt last night's game was another achievement for the Raps. It even brought another record as they broke a franchise lead with a 40-point halftime lead.
40 Piece = Largest halftime lead in franchise history. https://t.co/JR9L4iOk5j— Toronto Raptors (@Toronto Raptors)1575245458.0
According to Yahoo Sports, 245 straight sellouts, while impressive, is some way below the NBA high. The Portland Trail Blazers had an 845 consecutive home sellout streak from 1977 to 1995.
The Raptors go again Tuesday in the snow, this time against the Miami Heat.
It remains to be seen whether the weather will clear up and another sellout streak will be started.
*This article has been updated.