Owner Leslie Alexander is putting the Houston Rockets up for sale after 24 years of ownership.
Alexander bought the team in 1993 for $85 million. Forbes values the franchise at $1.65 billion — good for eighth in the league — with revenue of $244 million.
“Leslie Alexander has put the Houston Rockets and Clutch City Sports and Entertainment up for sale,” Rockets CEO Tad Brown said in a statement, hours after he said Alexander made the decision. “It’s been a great joy in his life and pleasure to be the owner of the Houston Rockets. The great players, Hall of Fame players and coaches, championships won, All-NBA teams made. Just the connection with the community that’s been established over 24 years has been an incredible opportunity that he’s just loved.”
The Rockets won the NBA title in the first two seasons after Alexander bought the team.
Brown says Alexander had been approached over the years by those looking to buy the team, but that he never considered it until very recently. In fact, a sports investment banker told ESPN’s Darren Rovell that he was “shocked” by the announcement because Alexander had never publicly expressed interest in selling.
Brown says he will be working with the league office to facilitate things while they look for a new owner.
There is no set timetable for the sale, but Brown says they want to find the right buyer and won’t rush the process.
Interest in the Rockets might not be limited to the United States. Houston is the No. 1 team in Asia because of the popularity of former All-Star Yao Ming of China.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.