Fertitta, a Houston-based billionaire, was one of several potential buyers circling the Rockets, who had been put up for sale by owner Leslie Alexander. Alexander, 73, bought the franchise for just $85 million in 1993. Forbes had valued the franchise in February at $1.65 billion, making it the eighth most-valuable in the league, with revenues of $244 million.
“I am truly honoured to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets,” Fertitta said in a release from the team.
“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.”
“It’s been my great joy and honour to own the Houston Rockets for the past 24 years,” Alexander said in a statement.
“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.”
“The Houston community has been home to me,” Alexander said. “I will continue to support the charities I have made commitments to throughout the years.
“I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the fans, partners, city officials and employees who care so deeply for this team.
“I’ve made this decision after much deliberation with my family and friends, and do so knowing the franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place,” added Alexander, who last week donated $4 million towards the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.