Tilman Fertitta remembers listening to Rockets games as a kid, back when the team was still in San Diego. After amassing a business empire that includes Landry’s Restaurants and the Golden Nuggets Casinos, Fertitta can now call the Rockets his own. But it didn’t come cheap. Fertitta paid $2.2 billion to buy the team from former owner Les Alexander.
So what’s it like to finally become an NBA owner? “It’s the ultimate,” says Fertitta. “You’re in a club of 30. Anybody can go build a boardwalk, anybody can go build an aquarium, anybody can build tall buildings. But not everybody gets to own an NBA franchise.”
As for his ownership philosophy, Fertitta says he’s concerned with detail but he’ll rely heavily on his front-office team.
“It’s a different technology and a different science than what the fan sees,” says Fertitta. “I know what I know and I don’t know. I just don’t want surprises.”
As for what the fans will experience at Toyota Center, Fertitta says he views the Rockets as an extension of his hospitality business.
“There’s a saying I preach every day. There are no spare customers,” adds Fertitta. “And that goes from the people that are buying tickets here, to the media, to anybody else. You’re all a customer here of the Houston Rockets and the Landry’s organization.”
And what about bringing an NHL team to Toyota Center? Fertitta says it’s something he’s considering but only if it’s economically viable.