The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball
team based in Toronto, Ontario. The Raptors compete in the
National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member club of
the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. The team
was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies,
as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies
relocated to Memphis, Tennessee to become the Memphis Grizzlies
in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian-based team in
the NBA. They originally played their home games at the SkyDome
(since renamed Rogers Centre in 2005), before moving eastward
along Bremner Boulevard to the Air Canada Centre in 1999.
In the team's first official NBA game, Alvin Robertson scored
the first NBA points in Raptors history, while Stoudamire
recorded 10 points and 10 assists in a 94–79 victory over
the New Jersey Nets. The Raptors concluded their inaugural
season with a 21–61 win–loss record, although they were
one of the few teams to defeat the Chicago Bulls, who set
a then all-time NBA best 72–10 win–loss regular season record.
With averages of 19.0 points and 9.3 assists per game, Stoudamire
also won the 1995–96 Rookie of the Year Award.
The Raptors have enjoyed a consistent fanbase throughout their
history. The Toronto Raptors set NBA attendance records in their
2000, 2001, 2002 seasons when they made the playoffs. Attendance
dipped slightly between 2003 and 2006. This improved during the
2006–07 regular season to an average of 18,258 fans
(13th in the league), 92.2% of capacity at the ACC. Following
the success of the 2006–07 season, Toronto became one of the
league leaders in season ticket sales for the 2007–08 season.
Their television ratings, however, are considerably lower than
other more established Toronto sports teams and most other sporting
events shown on Canadian television.