With a pair of tickets to Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday fetching upwards of a cool $60,000, even the most dedicated Toronto Raptors fan (not to mention the newly indoctrinated bandwagoners) would be smart to have a back-up plan.
Interest in the series between the Raptors and Golden State Warriors has spread to well outside the Toronto area, with viewing parties planned right across the country.
Along with packing into sports bars, pubs, and restaurants (hint: get to them early), here are some of the other ways fans can take in the game.
Most helpfully, the Raptors organization itself tweeted out a handy viewing guide, featuring each game and all the ways you can watch or listen at home.
You can also stream Games 1, 3, 5 and 7 on Sportsnet Now, but you’ll need a subscription.
Jurassic Park… and beyond
It’s not just for Torontonians anymore.
While the official Jurassic Park viewing area outside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto has been packed for every game since the Raptors started their playoff run, the team’s owner, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, has approved public viewing parties in several other Canadian cities. They include:
- Celebration Square, Mississauga, Ont..
- Garden Square, Brampton, Ont.
- Civic Square, Burlington, Ont.
- Springer Market Square, Kingston, Ont.
- Rogers Square, Halifax
(Halifax, by the way, hosted the Raptors’ first exhibition game back in 1995).
Other Ontario communities currently approved by MLSE to set up mini Jurassic Parks include Pickering, Vaughan, Halton Hills, Newmarket, Midland and Windsor.
The mayor of Markham, Ont., said his city would be showing the finals on a big screen at a local community centre.
Unfortunately for fans in Vancouver, one day after a city councillor suggested the city was looking to set up a Raptors fan zone of its own, the city said Wednesday that it wasn’t going to happen.
“Events of this nature require adequate lead time to plan and execute successfully, and while we reviewed plans for a potential viewing event, we were not able to identify a location that was suitable and available,” the statement read in part.
But fear not.
Cineplex — not just for movies anymore
On Wednesday, Cineplex and MLSE announced they are teaming up to host viewing parties in 33 cinemas across the country.
“We have a pretty strong inclination that there is an appetite for viewing parties nationally,” said Sarah Van Lange, spokesperson for the movie theatre chain.
Tickets are free, but limited to two per person. And you have to pick them up in person at the box office.