Owner: Tilman J. Fertitta
On October 6, 2017, the Tilman J. Fertitta era began as the owner of the Houston Rockets. Fertitta, a Houston native, is an accomplished businessman and has an unrivaled passion for success. Before he joined the ranks as an NBA owner, Fertitta was already recognized as a world leader in the dining, hospitality, entertainment and gaming industries. He is the sole owner of Fertitta Entertainment which owns not only the NBA’s Houston Rockets, but also the restaurant giant Landry’s and the Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels.
Through his restaurant and hospitality company Landry’s, Fertitta owns more than 600 properties in 36 states and in over 15 countries. He is also one of the largest employers in the nation with more than 60,000 employees. His restaurants include a signature collection of eateries, as well as more than 50 different restaurant brands and award-winning concepts. The Signature Group includes some of the world’s premier fine dining concepts, such as Mastro’s Steakhouse and Ocean Club, Morton’s The Steakhouse, The Oceanaire, Vic & Anthony’s, Brenner’s Steakhouse, Grotto, Atlantic Grill, La Griglia and Willie G’s; while the multi-unit restaurant brands include such well known favorites as McCormick & Schmick’s, Chart House, Landry’s Seafood House, Rainforest Cafe, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Claim Jumper, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Dos Caminos, Bill’s Bar & Burger and Joe's Crab Shack. Additionally, Fertitta owns 50% of Catch – one of Los Angeles’ and New York’s most popular eateries.
He also owns and operates numerous gaming, hospitality and entertainment venues, including the iconic Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel brand, with 5 locations throughout the United States, including Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Biloxi, Mississippi and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Fertitta also launched into the online internet gaming world in the state of New Jersey with GoldenNuggetCasino.com and has been recognized as the top iGaming operator in the country, receiving the top iGaming operator of the year award in 2016 and 2017. In the Houston/Galveston area, he owns the award-winning San Luis Resort, The Westin Houston Downtown and several other award-winning regional hotels. In early 2018, Fertitta will open Houston’s newest ultra-modern, luxury destination, The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston. His entertainment destinations include the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, The Kemah Boardwalk, Downtown Aquarium Denver and Houston and Tower of The Americas in San Antonio which are all featured on the Forbes, Travel Channel and USA Today’s top five lists of attractions.
An influential business figure, Fertitta stars in his own reality TV show on CNBC called Billion Dollar Buyer, currently in production for its third season. Fertitta has been frequently featured in the nation’s top financial and industry publications. He is also a frequent guest of prominent national business programs on networks like CNBC, MSNBC and Fox. He is considered one of the foremost authorities in the restaurant, gaming, entertainment and hospitality industries.
Fertitta’s incredible attention to detail is what differentiates a Fertitta business from others. Fertitta is well-known for flying 20,000 feet over one of his properties and spotting a burned-out lightbulb. Whether you are at a Rockets game at the Toyota Center, dining at one of his many restaurants world-wide or visiting a Fertitta hotel property, a positive and memorable customer experience is of the utmost importance. As he frequently states, “There are no spare customers.”
Fertitta’s many personal honors include - Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young and induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame as the second youngest inductee. In 2012, he was named Amusement Today’s Person of the Year, and in 2013, he was named Casino Journal’s Executive of the Year and is one of Restaurant News’ top executives almost yearly. Fertitta first debuted on the Forbes 400 list in 2012 and is referred to as “the world’s richest restaurateur.” In honor of his contributions to the travel and tourism industry in Texas, Fertitta was the recipient of the Texas Travel Industry Association’s Heritage Award in 2016.
While Fertitta is thrilled to be the team’s 10th owner and is committed to ensuring the Rockets’ excellence, this isn’t the first time he’s dabbled in major league sports, nor is it the first time he has had an ownership interest in the Houston Rockets. In the early 1980s, Fertitta was a minority partner in the Rockets back when Charlie Thomas was the majority owner. Fertitta subsequently sold his limited partnership interest in 1993 when Leslie Alexander acquired the Rockets, but continued to serve as an advisory director during the franchise's championship seasons in 1994-95. He was also an original investor in the Houston Texans.