After having been on the market for nearly two months, the Houston Rockets found a buyer for the franchise — a billion-dollar buyer in fact. It was announced last month that Tilman Fertitta would be acquiring the Rockets for an unprecedented $2.2 billion. Now the sale has closed.
The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved Fertitta to join the ranks of an NBA owner yesterday, setting the stage for the commencement of the Fertitta era.
The most recent NBA sale was the Los Angeles Clippers, which 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.
Previously, 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. Although, Forbes made a point of saying that there were about 36 other franchises that were valued upward of $1 billion.
Back in the early 1990s, Fertitta made an offer to buy the Rockets 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 was a former limited partner of Charlie Thomas when he owned the team back in the early 1980s. Fertitta paid a record price for the team of $2.2 billion dollars to former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander.
Fertitta owns the Golden Nuggets Casinos and Landry’s restaurant group, which includes Bubba Gump Shrimp, Rainforest Café and Morton’s Steakhouse, among others.
One piece of trivia worth pointing out: The last time the Houston Rockets were sold, the team won the championship that following season. Considering the moves that the Rockets have made in this post-season, they are easily one of the best teams in the Western Conference and could be a contender this year.