Tilman Fertitta Buys Houston Rockets in Blockbuster Deal

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As we have said before, baseball may be America’s favorite pastime, but basketball brings home the bacon. This game is known for its high-flying dunks and amazing feats of athleticism. But at the end of the day, this is still a business.

After being on the market for nearly two months, the Houston Rockets have found a buyer for the franchise, a billion-dollar buyer in fact. It was announced Tuesday morning that Tilman Fertitta would be acquiring the Rockets for an unprecedented $2.2 billion.

The Los Angeles Clippers most recently sold for $2.0 billion in 2014, the largest price tag for an NBA franchise at the time. The Rockets have now taken the top spot.

Forbes had valued the Rockets franchise at $1.65 billion in February, putting it around the eighth most valuable franchise in the NBA. The Forbes list of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises ended around $1.75 billion, so the Rockets didn’t make the cut. However, Forbes noted that there were about 36 other franchises that were valued upward of $1 billion.

Previously, Fertitta had made an offer to buy the Rockets back in the early 1990s for $81 million, but the team went to — now former owner — Leslie Alexander for $85 million at that time. This came just before the Rockets won their back-to-back championships.

Fertitta owns the Golden Nuggets Casinos and Landry’s restaurant group, which includes Bubba Gump Shrimp, Rainforest Café and Morton’s Steakhouse, among others.

Fertitta, a native of Galveston and life-long resident of the Houston area, commented:

I am truly honored to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets.  This is a life-long dream come true. Leslie Alexander has been one of the best owners in all of sports, and I thank him immensely for this opportunity. He has the heart of a champion. Lastly, out of respect for the NBA’s approval process, I can say no more other than I am overwhelmed with emotion to have this opportunity in my beloved city of Houston.