I've been thinking about this rise in fans and at first I thought it was because of the lack of playoffs in recent years and the fans just craving for it combined with no Leafs in the NHL playoffs and Toronto sports fans substituting that with the Raptors.
I also think now that it has something to do with the recent winter Olympics. Canadians have learned how to be outwardly expressive sports fans and how to come together as one country and cheer for one thing. In this case it's the Raptors. It's like watching those last two Olympic hockey gold medal games. Everyone is out there cheering as a whole. I think there needs to be some credit given to that Vancouver Olympics.