Exxon Mobil signs marketing deal with Houston Rockets

Prior to 2016, the NBA had not had a motor oil sponsor for more than 15 years.

Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) announced March 1 it has entered into a new marketing partnership with the Houston Rockets and two other NBA teams.

With the deal, Exxon Mobil becomes the "Official Partner of the Houston Rockets and Toyota Center." The company also signed similar multiyear deals with the Charlotte Hornets and the Boston Celtics.

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The financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. However, these deals extend Exxon's status as the “Official Motor Fuel of the National Basketball Association.” Exxon signed that multiyear sponsorship deal in 2016, making its Mobil 1 brand of synthetic motor oil the NBA, WNBA and D-League’s official motor oil, motor fuel and lubricant.

Prior to 2016, the NBA had not had a motor oil sponsor for more than 15 years. Castrol had league rights from 1993 until 2000. Rachel Jacobson, NBA senior vice president of business development and global partnerships, said at the time that Exxon Mobil is "endemic to motorsports, but we open up a new demographic.”

With 14,000 employees in the Houston area, Exxon is the third-largest energy employer in the Bayou City, according to Houston Business Journal research.

Meanwhile, Tilman Fertitta, the sole owner of Houston-based restaurant empire Landry’s Inc. and the Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels, bought the Houston Rockets last year from Les Alexander, another local billionaire. Alexander had owned the team for 24 years. The deal included operation of the Toyota Center Arena. Fertitta paid $2.2 billion for the team, which is a record sale price for an NBA franchise and surpasses the $2 billion that Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014.

Read more about Fertitta's business legacy here.