The NBA’s Houston Rockets were sold to Tilman Fertitta a local billionaire who called his purchase a dream come true. The Houston native has dreamed of owning his hometown team since 1993.
Terms of this deal which on Tuesday was first announced, were not made public, but one source has said that Fertitta agreed to pay $2.2 billion to current owner Leslie Alexander making it a record sale for a franchise in the NBA.
The sale must receive approval by the Board of Governors of the NBA. Fertitta, a native of Galveston, Texas, has had seats at courtside for Rockets games for several years.
In a prepared statement that the team released, Fertitta said he was honored to be the next Houston Rockets owner as it is a life-long dream come true.
The team acknowledged that the timing of this sale, as the city recovers from the historic damage that Hurricane Harvey caused, is very unfortunate.
Fertitta and Alexander agreed to the sale of the team in principle on Monday said league sources.
The Rockets have been valued by Forbes magazine at $1.65 billion which puts them as the eighth most valuable in the league. They received several offers with all of them above $2 billion.
Fertitta is the owner of Landry’s Inc. one of the biggest restaurant corporations in the U.S. as well as Golden Nugget Hotels and Casinos.
The Rockets announced through a prepared statement that Fertitta does not have any other partners in this transaction, which includes operation of Houston’s Toyota Center.
If the Board of Governors in the NBA approve the sale, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas must take Houston Rockets games off their betting board.
Fertitta expressed an interest earlier in the year of buying the team after Alexander made the announcement that he was selling it. Fertitta said he would keep the team in Houston.
Fertitta was an original investor in the Houston Texans an NFL franchise and offered to purchase the Rockets in 1993 for $81 million, but Alexander bought them for $85 million.
Alexander said he has known Fertitta 24 years and believes no one is more capable to run the franchise than is Fertitta.
Houston won the NBA title during the first two seasons after the team was bought by Alexander. In the 24 seasons under the ownership of Alexander, Houston has won 57% of its games, which is fifth best in the NBA during that period.