Billionaire Tilman Fertitta Buys Houston Rockets For $2.2B

Tilman Fertitta
via Diego Pimentel / Public Domain

The Houston Rockets have been sold to local billionaire Tilman Fertitta, reports ESPN.

The 60-year-old Texas native called the purchase of his hometown team a “dream come true,” in a statement from the team. “I am truly honored to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets,” he said. “This is a life-long dream come true.”

While terms of the sale were not disclosed, sources tell ESPN that Fertitta acquired the team from Leslie Alexander for $2.2 billion, a record sale price for an NBA franchise. This comes after Forbes valued the Rockets at $1.65 billion (eighth-most valuable in the NBA) earlier this year.

However, according to ESPN’s report, the team garnered multiple offers that started at $2 billion.

The deal is likely sealed, but officially, it is pending approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors.

Fertitta owns Landry’s, Inc., one of the nation’s biggest restaurant corporations, as well as Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels. Ironically, once the sale is approved, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas will not be able to take betting on Rockets games.

Fertitta previously offered $81 million to buy the Rockets in 1993, but the team was sold to Leslie Alexander for $85 million. Now, Alexander sells the team to Fertitta.

In the first two seasons that Alexander bought the team, it won the NBA title twice. Since then, in 24 seasons, the Rockets have won 56.9 percent of their games, fifth-best in the league.