Raptors 905, the NBA G League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, has been named Franchise of the Year for the 2019-20 season. The award, which was announced by the NBA on Tuesday, is given to the G League team which best exemplifies three core pillars: Compete with Intensity, Lead with Integrity and Inspire Play.
The team was recognized for its play on court, but excellent behind-the-scenes work, activity in the community, and strong business development must also be displayed to earn Franchise of the Year honours.
“Just as Raptors 905 develops phenomenal players, like Fred and Pascal and Norman and Chris on the court, they also develop fantastic people off the court. Raptors 905 is an investment in our franchise, but it’s also an investment in basketball in Canada, a way for us to support growth of the game,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “We said when Raptors 905 started that we intended to make this the best franchise in the G League, and we are really proud that we’ve been recognized for that.”
The 2019-20 season saw an increase in fan attendance by 11 percent, driven by engaging theme nights and giveaways that strengthened ties to its parent club. The season began with an opening night event featuring the Larry O’Brien Trophy and a championship experience for all fans in attendance. Raptors 905 also hosted a variety of themed games including Welcome Toronto, Chinese New Year, Black History Month and International Women’s Day. Also successful were the team’s alumni nights, which celebrated the accomplishments of former 905 players Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet with player appearances and bobbleheads.
Raptors 905 was also recognized for its activity in the local community. On Dec. 5, 2019, the team hosted a Giants of Africa game at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, which attracted a G League season high of 16,836 fans. Giants of Africa is a youth program co-founded by Ujiri, which uses basketball as a tool to enrich the lives of youth in Africa. And in January, the team hosted a Bell Let’s Talk Day, aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of good mental health, and raising funds to support mental health initiatives across Canada.
Online, Raptors 905 also proved to be one of the most popular teams in the league as fans watched over six million minutes of game action via Twitch and ESPN+ prior to the suspension of the season.
Raptors 905 will kick off its sixth season in Orlando as part of the NBA G League single site 2021 season. Their season opens Wednesday, Feb. 10 when they face the Rio Grande Valley Vipers at 7:30 p.m.