We all recognize Dan Snyder as one of the most controversial team owners in the National Football League of our generation. What is more often left to the imagination is his journey becoming the fierce and legendary character we all know him as today.
Daniel Marc Snyder is a self-made businessman, entrepreneur, family man and philanthropist. Dan was born on November 23, 1964, in Silver Spring, Maryland to a Jewish couple, Gerry and Arlette Snyder. Gerald “Gerry” Seymour Snyder, Daniel’s father, made his money as a freelance writer for the United Press International and National Geographic.
Dan and his sister, Michelle, attended Hillandale Elementary School. At 12 years old, Dan moved and attended a private school in a small town in England. He then lived in Queens, New York where he resided with his grandmother for some time before returning to Maryland to attend Charles W. Woodward High School.
At the age of 17, Dan embarked upon his first business venture when he partnered with his father to sell bus trips to sporting events. While this endeavor was unsuccessful, his next undertaking brought in millions. Dan dropped out of the University of Maryland, College Park to pursue a business where he leased jets to college students. Dan and a friend worked this small business from a bedroom in his parents’ home.
Soon enough, Dan had new ideas and enjoyed the rush of starting new ventures. After receiving the necessary financial backing (to the tune of $3 million dollars), he published Campus USA, a magazine for university students. The publication did not last long, as it was not receiving enough paid advertising. However, Dan again fell back on his entrepreneurial spirit and was not discouraged. It wasn’t long before he continued to pursue other lucrative and professional business opportunities.
Notably, at just 25 years old in 1989, Dan and his sister launched a new business, Snyder Communications LP. It was an advertising agency for Fortune 500 companies. Snyder Communications focused on advertising to targeted audiences rather than mass advertising, which Dan knew was a fading trend. Within four years, the company expanded and saw an explosive increase in their annual revenues. Snyder Communications proved to be so successful that, in 1996, Dan Snyder was named the youngest CEO of a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listed company. A few years later, in 2000, Snyder agreed to sell Snyder Communications to a French advertising company, HAVAS, for $2 billion dollars. This was the largest transaction in the history of the advertising industry, at the time.
Amidst the growth and successes of Snyder Communications, Dan Snyder got married. In 1994, Dan made a former fashion model, Tanya Ivey, his wife. They now have three children together, two daughters and a son.
Just prior to the sale of Snyder Communications, Dan purchased Washington’s NFL team, then named the Washington Redskins. Dan Snyder is most widely known today for being the owner of the Washington NFL team. Dan Snyder’s passion for football and love for the team was inspired by his father, as they spent many Sundays each fall watching games in each other’s company. Also setting a new record for sporting team purchases, Snyder acquired the Redskins and their stadium for $800 million dollars. Upon purchasing the team, Snyder renamed Jack Kent Cooke Stadium to FedEx Field, as Federal Express was one of the financial backers of the purchase.
In addition to Snyder being the owner of the Washing Redskins, in 2006 Dan Snyder co-founded Red Zebra Broadcasting, LLC. The broadcasting company’s radio stations were focused on the Washington Redskins franchise including live play-by-play coverage of the games.
Today, the Washington Football Team NFL franchise is currently valued at around $3.4 billion dollars according to Forbes. With the organization receiving some backlash in early 2020, Dan Snyder is working to create a new culture as well as a team that is of “championship caliber”, according to CNBC. With a new head coach and a new president, Snyder is committed to turning the franchise around.
In 2020, following the wrongful death of George Floyd by police officers which spurred a national Black Lives Matter movement, Snyder appointed Jason Wright as the first Black president of an NFL team. Wright looks forward to the opportunity to reshape the Washington Football Team by initially using a “community-based process”. Players, fans, and sponsors will come together to create a new, more fitting identity for the club. Snyder and Wright support each other’s goals for the iconic franchise.
Over the years, as Daniel Snyder became a more prominent businessman, he also contributed greatly to his community. In 2000, Snyder founded the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation (WRCF) to help make positive impacts on the youth of the Washington, D.C. area. Snyder has aided September 11th attack victims with a $1 million donation, supported Hurricane Katrina victims with a $600,000 contribution, paid for shipping of food donations to those who suffered from the tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand, and sent supplies to the Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. He continues to support and contribute to his community still today.
Learn more about Dan Snyder here: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/daniel-snyder