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Raptors Defer 2008 All-Star Application

(April 19, 2005) -- The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that they have withdrawn their application to host the 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend and will submit an application to host the event in 2011. The team cited a timing conflict between the 2008 game and the construction schedule for Maple Leaf Square, a new entertainment destination adjacent to Air Canada Centre. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), owner of the Raptors, is one of three partners involved in the Maple Leaf Square development.

“Although we’re disappointed about deferring our application, we feel that we’ll be in a much better position to host this major worldwide event after the completion of Maple Leaf Square,” said Bob Hunter, executive vice-president of MLSE. “Maple Leaf Square will be an important aspect in how we host a future All-Star Game and will further enhance the All-Star experience for basketball fans and visitors to Toronto with the increased number of amenities in the immediate vicinity of Air Canada Centre.”

The Raptors’ original bid to host the NBA’s showcase event was a joint partnership that included Tourism Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto. Each party, including MLSE, pledged a significant financial contribution towards hosting the event. MLSE anticipates partnering once again with these three parties for the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend bid.

Maple Leaf Square will be Toronto’s newest entertainment destination that has a unique sports theme. Adjacent to the very successful Air Canada Centre and linking the city to the waterfront, Maple Leaf Square will be comprised of a boutique hotel, two restaurants, sports-themed retail outlets, an entertainment club and a media centre, along with two residential condominium towers. With plenty of open and green spaces, the square will serve as a focal point of the development. Construction completion is scheduled for 2009.