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Amalie Arena during a game between the Toronto Raptors and the New Orleans Pelicans on December 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Tampa's recent run of championship berths has the city buzzing, and while it prepares to host Super Bowl LV, it's also renting a small piece of Titletown to the temporarily-displaced Toronto Raptors.

The state of play: Amalie Arena, home of the NHL's Lightning, ultimately surfaced as the Raptors' home away from home, and the city has rolled out the red carpet to make them feel welcome.

  • Training: The brand new JW Marriott, next door to Amalie, converted its luxury ballroom and entire fourth floor into the Raptors' training facility and operational headquarters. One rule? No full-court heaves (the ballroom's chandeliers, like the jumbotron at Jerry World, could come into play).
  • Lodging: Another Marriott, across the street from the JW and connected by a tunnel, housed most of the team upon their arrival. Some decided to stay there for the duration, while others have moved to nearby neighborhoods like Hyde Park and Harbour Island.
  • Game day: The arena itself has all the trappings of home, including the Raptors' 2019 championship banner in the rafters and the team's new court design, featuring their signature word, "North," in 25 different languages (Toronto is the most diverse city in the world, per the BBC).

The big picture: The Raptors, already the only team based outside the U.S., know the value of home as less a location than a state of mind.

  • "'We The North' isn't necessarily an idea of you living in Toronto," said Kevin Mones, creative director at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. "We've had the notion that the north isn't a destination; it's a declaration."
  • Team Tampa — as the collective of the city's teams refers to itself — believes success for one is success for all, and has gladly welcomed the Raptors into its ranks for however long their stay lasts.

The bottom line: The Raptors are still the north — just with a dose of southern hospitality.

Go deeper: Inside the Raptors' frantic relocation (The Athletic)

Go deeper

Tampa's mayor has a message for Kansas City ahead of the Super Bowl

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

After two decades of NFL seasons lost at sea, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the first team to make the Super Bowl a home game when they take on last year's Super Bowl winner, the Kansas City Chiefs

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor sent Axios some smack talk. Here's her message to Kansas City's mayor, Quinton Lucas:

The Sunshine State already ran the Chiefs out of town once, but I know our Bucs will finish the job. Mayor Lucas, when you’ve had enough of Kansas City winters, we invite you to come enjoy our beautiful weather and see for yourself why Tampa is called Title Town.
Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.