Golden Nugget casino owner buys Houston Rockets in record-breaking $2.2 billion deal

  • Casino boss Tilman Fertitta buys Houston Rockets
  • ‘Lifelong fan’ tells city he is ‘grateful for the opportunity’

The owner of the Golden Nugget casino chain has agreed a deal to purchase the Houston Rockets, in a deal thought to worth $2.2 billion.

Golden Nugget casino owner Tilman Fertitta
Golden Nugget casino owner Tilman Fertitta buys Houston Rockets

The exact terms have not been confirmed, but reports suggest Rockets fan Tilman Fertitta had to exceed all previous sales prices to ensure his bid was accepted.

The Landry’s Restaurant magnate told reporters that the opportunity has made a “lifelong dream come true.”

Team sells over value amid strong demand

The Texas-based basketball team is part of the National Basketball Association, playing in the Western Conference Southwest Division.

They are located at the Toyota Center, an arena and entertainment venue in downtown Houston. As part of the deal to buy the team, Fertitta will also get the contract to Clutch City Sports and Entertainment: an entertainment and sports brand that hosts shows within the stadium.

The total value of the deal is $2.2 billion, according to early reports, which would represent a record-breaking sale price for an NBA franchise.

Earlier in the year, Forbes had valued the team as eighth most expensive in the NBA, with a value of just $1.65 billion. However, fierce demand for the team pushed up the price, with Fertitta’s bid smashing the $2 billion mark. The deal has not been finalized, and is pending approval from the NBA Board of Governors.

Businessman praises outgoing owner

Fertitta is no stranger to the Houston Rockets, having been a fan of the team all his life. He is known to have courtside seats for home games, and even served on the board of directors for the team at the time.

“I have personally known Tilman for over 24 years and don’t think I could have found anyone more capable of continuing the winning tradition of our Houston Rockets,”
Rockets’ current owner Leslie Alexander

“Leslie Alexander has been one of the best owners in all of sports, and I thank him immensely for this opportunity,” said Fertitta earlier this week. “I am overwhelmed with emotion to have this opportunity in my beloved city of Houston.” It is indeed a great opportunity for Fertitta and for the Rockets themselves.

The businessman seems to have a golden touch when it comes to making wise investments, having turned around the Trump Plaza to create a successful chain of Golden Nugget land-based casino ventures in a number of top cities. He is one of the youngest people ever to join the Texas Business Hall of Fame, thanks to the phenomenal success of the Landry’s chain.

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