Daniel M. Snyder (born 1965) is the current owner of the Washington Redskins football team, Chairman of the Board of Six Flags Inc., the world's largest amusement park and theme park operator, owner of the Johnny Rockets restaurant chain, and primary investor in Red Zebra Broadcasting, which is home to the Redskins Radio Network.
He is married to his wife Tanya, with whom he has two daughters and a son. His two daughters and son attend a private school in Bethesda, Maryland. On May 3, 2008, Snyder announced at the Larry King Cardiac Foundation in Washington, D.C., that Tanya was being treated for breast cancer. She underwent surgery at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic on Friday, May 2.
Snyder’s father, Gerry, was a free-lance writer who wrote for United Press International and National Geographic, and he was raised and schooled mostly in nearby Maryland. Snyder took his first job at B. Dalton bookstore at the age of 14.
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. The weather was awful, and father and son then saw all their fliers scattered on the pavement after the Caps lost the game badly that night.
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 business out of his parents' bedroom with a friend and couple of telephone lines.
Snyder courted real estate entrepreneur Mortimer Zuckerman, whose US News & World Report was also interested in 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 nearly $3 million behind Campus USA. That venture could never generate enough paid advertising and was forced to close after three years, but Snyder's charm and persistence captivated Zuckerman.
Despite the collapse of CampusUSA, Snyder was already focused on his next big idea: WallBoards. Barely 25, Snyder realized early on that the era of mass marketing was waning in a segmented world with hundreds of cable TV channels; advertisers were more eager than ever to directly reach "targeted" populations. Drasner, Zuckerman and a growing number of investors saw potential profit in Snyder's next business venture of marketing products of Fortune 500 companies.
In 1988, Snyder and his sister Michelle founded a marketing company, Snyder Communications Inc. (SNC). Their activities were mainly outsourced marketing services, such as Direct marketing, database marketing, proprietary product sampling, sponsored information display in prime locations, call centres, field sales.
He expanded the company aggressively through a string of acquisitions, and 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.
As a youngster, his first love had always been football, and the Redskins were his team. This love for the Washington Redskins came from his father. Every fall they would spend Sunday afternoons at RFK Stadium, where the Redskins used to play.
In May 1999, he purchased the team and their then two-year old stadium for $800 million following the death of the 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 a $340 million borrowed from Société Générale and $155 million debt assumed on the stadium. Annual loan servicing costs are an estimated $50 million. Snyder was very interested in the appearance of the team and the surrounding area. He also renamed the stadium FedEx Field, changing it from Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, the beloved late owner of the franchise.
While Snyder has been owner, the Redskins' annual profit has increased nearly $100 million. As of 2007, the Redskins are the second-highest grossing team in the National Football League behind only the Dallas Cowboys, who are, incidentally, the team's biggest on-field rivals. This is in part due to sponsorship arrangements with Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, and Nextel, but mainly due to a $207 million deal with FedEx to gain naming rights to the Redskins' stadium, now named FedExField. Snyder paid attention to revenue generation by adding more suites and club seats, enlarging capacity to a league-high 84,000-plus, and he sold the club seats that had gone empty under the Cooke family reign. Traffic and parking around the stadium have been improved, and there are now two escalators to the upper levels of the stadium. Ticket prices and parking prices have been raised. The model set by Snyder is currently being imitated by other sports franchises.
In August 17, 2005, Snyder’s investment vehicle, Red Zone, began a proxy battle to gain control of Six Flags Inc.'s board of directors. On November 22, 2005, Red Zone announced victory in the battle for control over the loss-making amusement park operator which provided for the removal of three board members and replacement by three new directors, including the CEO, chosen by Snyder. As of year end 2005, Snyder owned 11.7% of Six Flags Inc. Snyder is the Chairman of the Six Flags board. Snyder eliminated the popular Mr. Six character from Six Flags commercials.
According to his 2001 tax returns, .5% of his annual income was generated from a local independent film company specializing in children's cartoons encouraging proper sensitivity towards minorities.
In December 2004, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission fined Snyder $100 for cutting down more than 130 mature 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.
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. He also purchased other radio stations in the mid-Atlantic region, and intends on airing his Washington Redskins on all of his stations.
In February 2007, it was announced that Snyder's RedZone Capital would purchase Johnny Rockets, the 1950s-themed diner chain.
On June 19, 2007, Daniel Snyder purchased Dick Clark Productions for $175 Million.
He is also currently the Chairman of the Board of Ventiv Health, and a board member of McLeod USA.
In October 2007, Snyder confirmed in London that he is "actively looking for the right opportunity" to enter into business in the English Premier League, most likely through the outright purchase of a soccer team. Tottenham 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 $900 million (£450 million).