The Houston Rockets has been put up for sale this Monday, and one of the interested buyers is billionaire Tilman Fertitta.
He said he might be buying, if the price is right. This decision of Leslie Alexander to sell the Houston Rockets has been said to have blindsided not only the NFL but everyone at the Rockets as well.
Alexander, an ex-lawyer and financier in New York, purchased the franchise in 1993 for $85 million. Today, with last year's revenues being $244 million, Forbes values the team at $1.65 billion.
Alexander said, "It's been my great joy and honor to own the Houston Rockets for the past 24 years. I've had the incredible opportunity to witness true greatness through the players and coaches who have won championships for the city, been named to All-Star and All-NBA teams, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and done so much for our franchise and our fans."
A Houston Native
Born in Texas, Fertitta almost acquired the Rockets in 1993 but was outbid by Alexander by $4 million. It seems like this time, he doesn't want the opportunity to slip away again, "I've always had an interest in the Rockets. It's one of Houston's four major teams. It would be exciting. This is my home. I've looked at other teams, but it's hard to be involved with another team when Houston is your home. If it's an unreasonable number, I'll pull a group together, and if it's a crazy number, I won't participate."
He is a third cousin of brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, owners of Station Casinos, who were noted for building up the Ultimate Fighting Championship from an ailing fringe attraction into a highly-entertaining global sports brand.
Fertitta is owner of the Golden Nugget chain of casinos which has property locations in Atlantic City, Biloxi, Las Vegas, etc.
Fertitta owns several names of chain restaurants too, such as McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, The Rainforest Café, and Morton's: The Steakhouse via his entertainment and hospitality company Landry's, located in Houston.
Formerly a Houston Texans Shareholder
In 2008, Fertitta was an original shareholder in the Houston Texans NFL franchise but was forced to sell his shares due to the rule that NFL bans its team owners from serving as officers of publicly-traded enterprises that derive revenue from "gambling-related operations."
Fertitta said, "Les has been a great owner for 24 years. He's won the only two major championships in the history of Houston and has kept the team competitive for 24 years. It will be big shoes to follow for whoever buys the team. I definitely have an interest."