Photo of Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta.

Image Credit: Diego Pimentel 

The Houston Rockets have been sold for an NBA record $2.2 billion to Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta. Forbes Magazine originally valuated the Houston Rockets at $1.6 billion but many league sources expected the sale price to easily exceed $2 billion. Fertitta is the owner of Landry’s Inc., one of the largest restaurant corporations in the United States. Under the umbrella of Landry’s Inc. are restaurants such as Morton’s Steakhouse, McCormick and Schmick’s and Bubba Gum Shrimp Company. Fertitta is also the owner of Golden Nugget Casino and Hotels.

Tilman Fertitta is no stranger to professional sports in Houston. He attempted to purchase the Houston Rockets back in 1994 for $81 million; later falling short by $4 million. For the last few seasons, he could be seen courtside at the Toyota Center for many Rockets home games. He was also one of the original investors of the Houston Texans which entered the NFL in 2002. However, due to his ownership and involvement in the casino and gaming industry, Fertitta sold his shares of the Texans in 2008. Feritta also purchased the naming rights to the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. The Crawford Boxes are known as “Landry’s Crawford Boxes”.

Other well-known individuals that were interested in purchasing the Houston Rockets include billionaire Dan Friedkin, Beyonce and former NBA players Dikembe Mutumbo, Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon. The sale to Fertitta still needs to be approved by the NBA Board of Governors which will likely happen unanimously. The Houston Rockets were originally valuated as the 8th highest NBA team in terms of revenue and net worth. However, expectations have never been higher following a playoff appearance, extension of James Harden and the addition of All-Star Chris Paul. The next shoe to drop will be whether Houston pursues an NHL team to share the Toyota Center with the Houston Rockets. There are whispers that it’s a possibility now that former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander is out of the picture.




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