The Toronto Raptors’ attempt at making NBA playoff history fell short on Thursday night, as they fell in six games to the Philadelphia 76ers and failed to become the first team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit.
While many fans stuck around in the stands until the very end of the 132-97 blowout loss, some filed out of Scotiabank Arena a couple minutes before the final buzzer, presumably to beat the traffic and get home quicker.
This drew the ire of those in Jurassic Park, the huge group of fans watching the game on the big screen just outside the doors of the arena.
— Michelle Mackey (@michellemackey) April 29, 2022
The passionate fans in Jurassic Park weren’t the only ones who had a bone to pick with the lucky few who got to take in the game from the inside, with some on Twitter taking exception with the lack of energy in the building at times.
Watching clips from the earlier Raptors playoff runs really is a stark reminder of how much worse the crowd has gotten, man
I wonder if the crowd will return to form tonight
— Samson Folk (the coach) (@samfolkk) April 28, 2022
Something needs to be done about fans being priced out of these games, @Raptors.
Disappointing to see lots of empty seats in the third quarter because these "fans" are too cool to get back when the game starts.
— Pascal Propaganda (@PascalFanClub) April 29, 2022
Don’t think it can be emphasized enough but the crowd at the raptors game tonight was embarrassing. Empty seats to start the game and the half, no one wearing the shirts they gave out and quiet as a mouse. Do better @Raptors and @MLSEPR
— JR (@JFRDBM) April 29, 2022
Much has been made of the rise of ticket prices for games at Scotiabank Arena, which has priced out the fervent base of fans that Toronto sports is known for. The cheapest tickets for Thursday’s critical showdown came in between $300 and $400 for seats in the 300 level of the arena. Seats in the 100 level started at around $700 and could reach over $1,400, while courtside seats started at just under $5,000.
This problem has also plagued the other tenant of Scotiabank Arena, with ardent fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs fans being squeezed out by corporate coffers for decades. The atmosphere for Leafs games has once again been called out by fans this year.
It's an unfortunate byproduct of the Raptors' success and growing popularity, as Toronto has had a reputation of having one of the most raucous home crowds in the NBA. But unless the team can find a way to get more real fans into the building, or until demand decreases, this is going to be the reality for big games in the Big Smoke.
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