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Raptors games to be shown locally on TV

The remainder of the first-half schedule will be available through Fox Sports regional networks, but those channels aren’t available on all cable and streaming platforms.
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) dribbles toward the basket during the first quarter of the regular-season opener vs. the New Orleans Pelicans at Amalie Arena on Wednesday in Tampa.
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) dribbles toward the basket during the first quarter of the regular-season opener vs. the New Orleans Pelicans at Amalie Arena on Wednesday in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Dec. 26, 2020
Updated Dec. 26, 2020

TAMPA — Tampa Bay fans will be able to watch NBA games involving their adopted Toronto Raptors, but the reach of those broadcasts will be limited.

Fox Sports Sun announced Saturday that the team’s remaining 36 first-half games will be available mostly through the Fox Sports Go app. Thirteen games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Sun and two others on Fox Sports Florida.

Fox Sports Sun is a Sinclair-owned regional sports network that also broadcasts Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Rays games locally.

Related: How regularly will fans in Tampa Bay be able to enjoy their adopted Raptors?

Games for the Orlando Magic, who own territorial rights over the Tampa Bay area and had allowed the Raptors’ temporary relocation to the area, are broadcast on sister station Fox Sports Florida. Discussions to allow Raptors games to be broadcast locally were being made at the league level over the past several weeks.

“This was an exciting opportunity that came our way and we couldn’t be more excited to add Toronto Raptors games to our programming lineup,” FOX Sports Florida/FOX Sports Sun senior vice president and general manager Steve Tello said in a statement. “I want to thank the NBA, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors and Vinik Sports Group for coming together to bring Raptors basketball to fans through the first half of the season.”

While the development is good news for local fans looking to follow the Raptors more closely, Fox Sports Sun and Fox Sports Florida — as well as other Sinclair-owned regional networks across the country — are unavailable on several platforms. Fans who wish to access live-streamed games on the Fox Sports Go app must have Fox Sports Sun as part of their paid TV subscription service.

Related: Raptors out of range in their first regular season game

Frontier cable dropped the channels in September, and several streaming platforms, including Hulu and YouTube TV, no longer have the Sinclair-owned regionals on their local channel lineups after contractual wrangling. Hulu stopped carrying the channels Oct. 1 and YouTube TV stopped Oct. 22.

Spectrum, DirecTV, Hotwire Communications and Xfinity carry Fox Sports Sun and Fox Sports Florida. AT&T TV is the only alternative streaming option.

The Raptors’ road opener tonight against the San Antonio Spurs will be shown through the Fox Sports Go app. There will be no pregame or postgame shows as Toronto will manage all production, on-air talent and broadcast integrations. In Canada, Raptors games are being called remotely from Toronto and shown nationally on TSN and Rogers SportsNet.

Some games, like the first Fox Sports Sun broadcast Jan. 6 against the Phoenix Suns, will be joined in progress. The first fully televised game will be Jan. 10 against the Golden State Warriors. More channel information will be clarified when the Lightning’s broadcast schedule is released.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.