e has been the leader with the Houston Texans for nearly two decades and currently serves as President of the club Under Rootes’ leadership, the Texans have earned many distinctions, including numerous “Crystal Awards” for marketing excellence. J.D. Power & Associates recognized the team for providing the best fan experience in the NFL and even featured the Texans as a service success story in their book entitled “Satisfaction.” The Texans have also received Sports Business Journal’s PRISM Award, which is given annually to the top major professional sports team based on business excellence criteria. In 2017, the Texans extended their sell-out streak to 174 consecutive home games, a Houston NFL record and a testament to the quality of service and entertainment provided by the organization on game day. As a result, the Texans have consistently been recognized as one of the most valuable professional sports franchises both in the NFL and globally, as measured by a variety of business publications. For the past 5 years, the Texans were recognized by the Houston Chronicle as one of “Houston’s Top Workplaces”.
For his efforts, Rootes was selected as Houston Business Journal’s Business Person of the Year in 2016 after serving as the Chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership, Deputy Chairman and Vice Chairman for two public boards for the Super Bowl Host Committee and elevating Houston’s visibility on an international scale. He was instrumental in bringing one of the largest soccer tournaments, Copa America, for Houston as well as landing Monday Night Football to Mexico for the first time in NFL history. Rootes was selected twice by SportsBusiness Journal as a member of its distinguished “Forty Under 40” list of leading sports executives, and he was named a finalist for Global Sports Executive of the Year by the Stadium Business Awards.
Rootes maintains an active role in the community by serving on a number of boards, including the Greater Houston Partnership and the United Way, and he is currently serving as the Board Chair of the United Way of Greater Houston. He also oversees the activities of the Houston Texans Foundation, which donated over $1.6 million in 2017 to benefit youth and families in the Houston area. Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Rootes worked with the league office, NFL teams, the United Way, and others to raise funds for those affected by the storms. In total, all NFL-related entities donated over $50 million for Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery along the Texas gulf coast. Since inception, the Texans have raised well over $30 million through annual fundraising events, disaster response programs, the team’s United Way campaign and partnerships with nonprofit organizations on game day.
Prior to joining the Texans, Rootes helped to launch Major League Soccer as president and general manager of the Columbus Crew. During his tenure, the Crew was consistently among the league’s strongest teams both on and off the field, and Rootes was recognized as Executive of the Year in 1996 and Marketing Executive of the Year in 1999. Rootes helped lead the construction of Mapfre Stadium in 1999, which was the first stadium of its type in the United States. This facility earned distinction as America’s Foremost Sports Facility of the Year and led to the development of numerous soccer-specific stadiums across the United States, including BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
Rootes also serves as President of Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE), a sports management agency associated with the Texans. LSSE has been a catalyst for some of Houston’s most significant sporting events. LSSE created and now manages the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, Houston’s annual college football bowl game. Since its launch in 2006, the Texas Bowl has become the best attended bowl game outside of the College Football Playoff. The Bowl’s charity partner, DePelchin Children’s Centers, has received well-over $1 million to support their important work with the foster-kids and families of the Houston Area. In 2015, the Texas Bowl shattered the record for the largest bowl game crowd in Houston history as a sold out NRG Stadium audience saw the LSU Tigers defeat the Texas Tech Red Raiders 56-27. LSSE also created and manages an annual Labor Day college football game, the AdvoCare Texas Kick-Off, which holds the record for the largest college football crowd in NRG Stadium history. The projected annual economic impact of these two games is $100 mm with approximately 100K out of town visitors.
Outside of football, LSSE has been a leader in soccer beginning with the 2003 U.S. vs. Mexico soccer match which set a soccer attendance record for Texas and caused U.S. Soccer to recognize NRG Stadium with the Best Soccer Crowd in America award. LSSE has also hosted large crowds for Interliga, Gold Cup, Barcelona on Tour, and other marquee events. This success led to the establishment of Houston’s Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise, the Houston Dynamo in 2006, which is a two-time champion of MLS playing in BBVA Compass Stadium. More recently, LSSE hosted large crowds for Gold Cup 2007, 2009 and 2011, a capacity crowd of over 70,000 for U.S. vs. Mexico in February 2008, Houston’s first-ever World Cup qualifier with Mexico and Belize and the 2010 MLS All-Star game featuring Manchester United which set a new NRG Stadium soccer attendance record of 70,728. In June of 2016, LSSE hosted Copa America Centenario at NRG Stadium. Copa America is the largest and most prestigious soccer tournament to be held in the United States since World Cup USA 94. In total, LSSE has hosted the Mexican National Team sixteen (16) times with an average attendance of over 60,000 passionate fans, establishing NRG Stadium as the US home for “El Tri.” In 2017, LSSE hosted the Manchester Derby featuring Manchester United and Manchester City. This was the first time that the Manchester Derby was played outside the U.K. LSSE has also delivered record crowds for the Battle of the Pineywoods annual college football rivalry game, and hosted major concerts featuring Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Tim McGraw and other artists.
A native of Stone Mountain, Ga., Rootes graduated Cum Laude from Clemson University’s Calhoun Honors College. While attending Clemson, Rootes was a member of the Tigers’ soccer team that captured two NCAA titles and he served as Student Body President. While earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with honors at Indiana University, he served as an assistant soccer coach for the Hoosiers. Rootes previously held positions at IBM and Procter & Gamble before entering sports. He lives in West University with his wife, Melissa, and their children, Chris and Caroline.