Daniel Snyder in 2001
November 23, 1964 |
Silver Spring, Maryland
|Known for||Washington Redskins owner|
|Net worth||US$ 1.7 billion (November 2013)|
|Spouse(s)||Tanya Ivey (m. 1994)|
Daniel Marc Snyder (born November 23, 1964) is an American billionaire and the current owner of the Washington Redskins American football team and primary investor in Red Zebra Broadcasting, which is home to the Redskins Radio ESPN.
Early life and education
Snyder was born to a Jewish family on November 23, 1964, in Maryland, the son of Arlette (née Amsellem) and Gerry Snyder. His father was a freelance writer who wrote for United Press International and National Geographic. He attended Hillandale Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland. At age 12, he moved to Henley-on-Thames, a small town near London, where he attended private school. At age 14, he returned to the United States and lived with his grandmother in Queens, New York. A year later, his family moved back to Maryland and he graduated from Charles W. Woodward High School in Rockville, Maryland. His first job was at B. Dalton bookstore in the White Flint Mall.
At 17, Snyder experienced his first business failure when he partnered with his father to sell bus-trip packages to Washington Capitals fans to see their hockey team play in Philadelphia. He was disappointed when he found his fliers littering the streets after a tough loss. By age 20, he had dropped out of the University of Maryland, College Park and was running his own business, leasing jets to fly college students to spring break in Fort Lauderdale and the Caribbean. Snyder claims to have cleared US$1 million running the business out of his parents' bedroom with a friend and several telephone lines.
Snyder courted real estate entrepreneur Mortimer Zuckerman, whose US News & World Report was also interested in the college market and who agreed to finance his push to publish Campus USA, a magazine for college students. Zuckerman and Fred Drasner, co-publisher of Zuckerman's New York Daily News, invested $3 million in Campus USA. The venture did not generate enough paid advertising and was forced to close after two years.
In 1989, Snyder and his sister Michelle founded a wallboard advertising (the sale of advertisements placed on boards inside buildings) company with seed money from his father, who took a second mortgage on his property in England, and his sister, who maxed out her credit cards at $35,000. They concentrated on wallboards in doctors' offices (where there was a captive audience) and colleges. They married the advertisement with the distribution of product samples — such as soaps and packages of medicine – to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The company was named Snyder Communications LP. The business was a great success and Snyder and his sister grew the business organically and through acquisitions and expanded its activities to all aspects of outsourced marketing, including direct marketing, database marketing, proprietary product sampling, sponsored information display in prime locations, call centers, and field sales. They expanded their geography from colleges and doctors' offices to hospital maternity areas, private daycare centers, and Fixed Based Operations (FBO), or private aircraft lounges in major airports throughout the country. In 1992, the company expanded into telemarketing with a focus on the yet untapped immigrant market. Snyder Communications revenues rose from $2.7 million in 1991 to $4.1 million in 1992 and $9 million in 1993. Proprietary product sampling was introduced in 1992 through their network of private daycare centers.
In an initial public offering for SNC in September 1996, Daniel Snyder became the youngest ever CEO of a New York Stock Exchange listed company at the age of 32. Snyder’s top investors, including media mogul Barry Diller, New York investor Dan Lufkin, and Democratic Party icon Robert Strauss, earned significant returns on their initial investment. Mortimer Zuckerman and Fred Drasner, whom Snyder owed $3 million from the failure of his first business venture, were given company stock, which ended up being worth over $500 million. His parents sold their stock in the company for over $60 million.
He continued to expand the company aggressively through a string of acquisitions, including Arnold Communications in 1997. By 1998, the company had over 12,000 employees and $1 billion in annual revenues. In April 2000, Snyder Communications was sold to the French advertising and marketing services group Havas in an all-stock transaction valued at in excess of US$2 billion, the largest transaction in the history of the advertising/market industry. Snyder’s personal share of the proceeds was estimated to be US$300 million.
Washington Redskins football team ownership
In May 1999, Snyder purchased the Redskins and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (now FedExField) for $800 million following the death of previous owner Jack Kent Cooke. At the time, it was the most expensive transaction in sporting history. The deal was financed largely through borrowed money, including $340 million borrowed from Société Générale and $155 million debt assumed on the stadium. Annual loan servicing costs are an estimated $50 million. In order to pay down the team's debt, in 2003 he sold 15% of the team to real estate developer Dwight Schar for $200 million, 15% to Florida financier Robert Rothman for a like amount; and 5% to Frederick W. Smith, the founder of Federal Express, leaving him with a 65% ownership interest.
Since Snyder became owner, the Redskins' annual revenue increased from more than $100 million a year when Snyder took over the team in 1999 to around $245 million. As of 2014, the Redskins are the third highest grossing team in the National Football League behind the Dallas Cowboys, who are the team's biggest on-field rivals, and the New England Patriots.  This is in part due to sponsorship arrangements with Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, and Sprint, but mainly due to a $207 million deal with FedEx to gain naming rights to the Redskins' stadium, now named FedExField.
Public backlash against Snyder
Since Snyder bought the Redskins, the team has had a losing record (105–144 through the end of the 2013 season). They have also gone through eight head coaches in 16 seasons. In October 2009, several articles in Washington area newspapers criticized Snyder, alleging that his managerial style was partly to blame for the Redskins' on-field struggles. A November 24, 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal also questioned whether Snyder's leadership style had alienated the Redskins fan-base, questioning "Are the Redskins Losing Washington?" The article quotes from a Harris Interactive poll showing that whereas the Redskins in 2003 were the 6th most popular NFL team nationally, by 2009 they had fallen to No. 17, but in 2014 had climbed to #10.
After a 3–7 start to the 2009 Washington Redskins season, criticism of Snyder and his general manager, Vinny Cerrato, escalated, while sportswriters referred to the pair as "Dumb and Dumber". Fans and football analysts have criticized the revolving-door of Redskins head coaches employed since Snyder bought the team, as well as Snyder and Cerrato's pattern of hiring expensive free agents and trading away draft picks for older players instead of recruiting young talent through the NFL draft. Vinny Cerrato resigned on December 17, 2009.
Under Snyder, the Redskins have also sued season ticket holders who were unable to pay during the 2008–2009 U.S. recession. Snyder did this despite his claim that there are over 200,000 people on the season ticket waiting list.
Redskins fans have also expressed discontentment about rising ticket and parking prices, and Snyder's policy of charging fans for tailgates in special areas of the stadium lot. The Redskins did not raise ticket prices from 2006 through 2012.
Threatening a lawsuit in January 2011, Snyder demanded dismissal of the Washington City Paper's sports writer Dave McKenna, who had meticulously compiled a lengthy article, The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder, documenting the encyclopedia of errors made by Snyder. Other sportswriters have come out in support of McKenna. The lawsuit was filed on February 2, 2011. On April 26, 2011, Snyder's lawyers added the reporter who wrote the story, Dave McKenna, as a defendant. On September 10, 2011, Snyder dropped his libel lawsuit against both the Washington City Paper and Dave McKenna.
Snyder has been pressured to change the team's name by various fans, politicians, and advocacy groups because the word "redskins" is derogatory towards Native Americans. In May 2013, in response to a question regarding the teams' Federal Trademark, Snyder told USA Today "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER—you can use caps." In October 2013, President Obama weighed in on the issue by saying he would think about changing the name, but that he does not have a stake in the issue since he is not part owner of a pro sports team. In an open letter to Redskins season ticket holders, Snyder stated, "I've listened carefully to the commentary and perspectives on all sides, and I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name. But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too." A 2004 Annenberg Public Policy Center poll showed that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the team's name. To help defend the team name, Snyder has hired lawyer Lanny Davis, who at one time worked for Bill Clinton. In an interview, Davis stated that Snyder needed to tone down his rhetoric, in reference to Snyder stating "never".
On June 17, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revoked the team's Trademark protection. In a 99-page decision the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said the team's name and logo are disparaging. It was a 2 -1 decision with the dissenting opinion stating: “the same evidence previously found insufficient to support cancellation” here “remains insufficient” and does not support cancellation ".
In 2005, he bought 12% of the stock of amusement park operator Six Flags through his private equity company RedZone Capital. He later gained control of the board placing his friend and ESPN executive Mark Shapiro as CEO and himself as chairman. In April 2009, the New York Stock Exchange delisted Six Flags' stock as it had fallen below the minimal required market capitalization. In June 2009, Six Flags announced that they were delaying a $15 million debt payment and two weeks later, Six Flags filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of the reorganization, 92% of the company ended up in the hands of their lenders and Dan Snyder and Mark Shapiro were removed from their positions. Snyder lost his entire investment.
In July 2006, Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting launched a trio of sports radio stations in his home market of Washington, D.C. known as Triple X ESPN Radio but, due to Snyder's perceived heavy-handedness, referred to as 'Dan Jazeera'. He purchased other radio stations in the mid-Atlantic region, and intends to broadcast coverage of Washington Redskins games on all of his stations.
In July 2006, Snyder and other investors signed a deal to provide financing to the production company run by Tom Cruise and his partner, Paula Wagner. This came one week after Paramount Pictures severed its ties with Cruise and Wagner. Snyder is credited as an executive producer for the 2008 movie Valkyrie, which stars Cruise.
In October 2007, Snyder confirmed in London that he is "actively looking for the right opportunity" to enter into business in the Premier League, most likely through the outright purchase of a soccer club. Tottenham Hotspur F.C. of North London is reported to be the most likely team to be bought by Snyder, which is currently on the market for about $725 million (£450 million). Snyder is the chairman of the board of Ventiv Health, and a board member of McLeodUSA.
Snyder is an active philanthropist. He contributed $1 million to help the victims of the September 11 attacks; he donated $600,000 to help victims of Hurricane Katrina; and he paid the shipping costs for charitable food shipments to aid those affected by the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand. In 2000, Dan Snyder founded the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, which utilizes the assets of the Washington Redskins and its corporate and community partners to make a positive and measurable impact on youth development in the greater Washington, DC, region in the areas of education, community outreach, and health and wellness. In 2014 Snyder formed the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation to provide opportunities and resources to aid Tribal communities. The foundation was formed to address the challenges in the daily lives of Native Americans.
In December 2004, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission fined Snyder $100 for cutting down more than 130 old-growth trees near his $10 million Maryland residence above the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the Potomac River without first obtaining permission from the Commission, although the National Park Service had signed off on the project. Lenn Harley, a real estate broker who was not involved in Snyder's purchase of the estate but was familiar with the area, estimated that the relatively unobstructed view of the river and its surroundings that resulted from Snyder's clearing could add $500,000 to $1 million to the home's value. The controversy around the tree-cutting led to extreme harassment and an eventual trial of the park ranger who stood up against the park's actions regarding the trees.
- The World's Billionaires – Dan Snyder. Forbes
- USA Today: "Jerry Jones: Dan Snyder sensitive to Redskins name controversy because he's Jewish" by Lindsay H. Jones October 13, 2013
- Forbes Israel: Jewish Billionaires – Profile of Dan Snyder April 14, 2013 (in Hebrew)
- Jewish Virtual Library: "Daniel Snyder" retrieved October 24, 2013
- Washington Jewish Week: "Five local Jews make Forbes richest list" October 7, 2009
- Washingtonian: "The Dan Snyder You Don't Know – To disgruntled fans, the Redskins owner Is a spoiled rich kid who treats the team like a toy—and a money machine. People close to him say it ain’t so" By Harry Jaffe September 1, 2006
- "Forward Motion". The Washington Post. September 15, 2002.
- Dan Patrick:Outtakes with Daniel Snyder
- Nariyawala, Mehul (October 28, 2004). "EVC Lines Up Dan Snyder as Luncheon Keynote for November 12 Conference" [Dan Snyder – From a College Dropout to Billionaire Owner of Washington Redskins]. Chicago Business.
- Muoio, Anna (June 1997). "The Secrets of Their Success – and Yours". Fast Company.
- Einstein, David (September 8, 2000). "The Greening Of The Redskins". Forbes.
- Maske, Mark (January 8, 2005). "NFL's Economic Model Shows Signs of Strain". Washington Post.
- "NFL Team Values:The Business of Football". Forbes. August 2014.
- "NFL Team Valuations – #2: Washington Redskins". Forbes. September 13, 2007.
- "Coaches". Sports Encyclopedia. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- Wilbon, Michael (October 13, 2009). "Snyder Must Lead Redskins By Getting Out of the Way". The Washington Post.
- Jenkins, Sally (October 9, 2009). "In Unstable Condition". The Washington Post.
- Daly, Dan (October 12, 2009). "Problems with Redskins' O-line start at top". The Washington Times.
- Albergotti, Reed (November 24, 2009). "Are the Redskins Losing Washington". The Wall Street Journal.
- McKenna, Dave (November 19, 2010). "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder". The Washington City Paper (Washington).
That's the Dan Snyder who got caught forging names as a telemarketer with Snyder Communications, made a great view of the Potomac River for himself by going all Agent Orange on federally protected lands, and lost over $121 million of Bill Gates' money while selling an "official mattress" while in charge of Six Flags.
- Chase, Chris (February 2, 2011). "Dan Snyder trying to get a newspaper reporter fired". Shutdown Corner. Washington: Yahoo Sports News.
- "Cerrato resigns; Redskins hire Allen as GM". The Washington Times. December 17, 2009.
- Grimaldi, James V. (September 3, 2009). "Washington Redskins React to Fans' Tough Luck With Tough Love". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Steinberg, Dan (October 27, 2009). "Redskins ban signs at FedEx Field". The Washington Post.
- Redskins reverse ban on fans bringing signs to FedEx Field. nfl.com. July 26, 2012
- Leahy, Sean (October 29, 2009). "Redskins fans aim vitriol at Daniel Snyder as team's heavy-handed tactics questioned". USA Today.
- Redskins raise ticket prices. foxsports.com. June 2, 2014
- Defending Dan Snyder. cbslocal.com. October 11, 2013
- Monte Burke (October 12, 2013). "Distaste For Dan Snyder Is One Of the Main Reasons The Redskins Name Controversy Is Gaining Momentum". Forbes.
- Petchesky, Barry (February 3, 2011) Dan Snyder Cries Anti-Semitism In Letter That Manages To Be Racist, Deadspin
- Farhi, Paul (February 1, 2011). "Redskins owner Dan Snyder seeks dismissal of City Paper writer". The Washington Post (Washington).
- Farhi, Paul (February 2, 2011). "Redskins owner Dan Snyder's face-off with City Paper gets uglier". The Washington Post (Washington).
- "Dan Snyder moves defamation lawsuit to D.C". April 27, 2011.
- Madden, Mike (September 10, 2011). "Dan Snyder Drops Lawsuit Against Washington City Paper, Dave McKenna." washingtoncitypaper.com.
- Brady, Erik (May 9, 2013) "Daniel Snyder says Redskins will never change name". USA Today
- Most Indians Say Name of Washington “Redskins” Is Acceptable While 9 Percent Call It Offensive. annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org. September 24, 2004
- Shin, Annys and Steinberg, Dan (October 9, 2013) "Snyder defends Redskins name in emotional letter to fans". Washington Post
- Milbank, Dana (October 7, 2013) "For the Redskins, what's in a name? Plenty." Washington Post
- Steinberg, Dan (October 9, 2013). "Redskins lawyer says 'put it in caps' language will change". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- Federal agency cancels Redskins trademark registration, says name is disparaging. Washington Post. June 17, 2014
- McCarthy, Michael (December 19, 2006). "ESPN buys stake in Arena Football". USA Today.
- Atlanta Business Journal: "Six Flags delisted". bizjournals.com. April 9, 2009
- J. de la Merced, Michael (June 13, 2009) "Six Flags Files for Bankruptcy". New York Times
- Bloomberg: "Six Flags Would Be Owned by Lenders Under Proposal (Update2)" By Steven Church August 21, 2009
- Worcester Telegram: "Chairman off Six Flags board" May 2, 2010
- Adler, Neil (August 28, 2006). "Dan Snyder accepts latest mission: Tom Cruise". The Washington Business Journal.
- "Daniel M. Snyder – Fandango". Fandango.
- Sorkin, Andrew Ross (February 9, 2007). "Footballs, Funhouses and Fries". The New York Times.
- Lieberman, David (June 19, 2007). "Dan Snyder buys Dick Clark's TV, music company". USA Today. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
- Sale, Charles (October 27, 2007). "Is Redskins chief on trail of Spurs?". London: The Daily Mail.
- In 2000, Dan Snyder founded the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, which utilizes the assets of the Washington Redskins and its corporate and community partners to make a positive and measurable impact on youth development in the greater Washington, DC, region in the areas of education, community outreach, and health and wellness.
- "Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation".
- Battista, Judy (September 25, 2009) "Wife of Redskins Owner Finds Her Voice in Cancer Fight". New York Times
- Redskins.com: "Tanya Snyder Opens Redskins Style Lounge" By Daniel Zimmet December 9, 2012
- Craig, Tim (March 16, 2005). "Park Service Could Profit From Allowing Snyder To Clear His Land". The Washington Post. p. A01.
- Smith, Rick (March 14, 2012). "Review of: Worth Fighting For: A Park Ranger's Unexpected Battle against Federal Bureaucrats & Washington Redskins Owner Dan Snyder".
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