Toyota already has a vested interest in the Houston Rockets, owning the naming rights to the arena our boys in red play in each night. Now, with the team itself for sale, one of the top Toyota executives has expressed interest in purchasing the franchise.
According to the Houston Chronicle and Fox Sports, the CEO of Gulf States Toyota, Dan Friedkin, has shown legitimate enthusiasm in possibly owning the Rockets, saying in an official released statement:
“I’ve expressed interest in exploring the purchase. Les Alexander has done an outstanding job building a high caliber organization with a winning tradition. Over the years we have enjoyed a close partnership with the Rockets and Les through Toyota’s naming rights of the arena. As a Rockets fan and Houstonian it would be exciting and a privilege to build on the storied legacy of NBA basketball in this city.”
Friedkin, whose empire includes the hospitality, golf and entertainment industries in addition to Toyota, has a net worth of $3.1 billion, according to Forbes. With the Rockets expected go for $2 billion or more, it appears Friedkin is one of the few who could afford the Rockets without putting together a substantial outside investment group.
He’s the second big-name executive to express interest in the Rockets, after local Houston-area billionaire Tilman Fertitta. Others have expressed interest as well, such as Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon and even Beyonce’, but all three would need to put together significant outside financing to make the numbers work.
With Friedkin having plenty of his own capital, he has to immediately jump up the list of potential favorites.