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Daniel Snyder in Forbes


(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)


Daniel Snyder's increasing openness with the media continued last week, as he was the subject of a 1,600-word profile in Forbes. The business magazine celebrated him as "the NFL's most innovative owner" who has "grown the brand" and "turned the Washington Redskins into a $1.55 billion empire."

I'd recommend you read the entire piece, but I'll pick out five parts that struck me.

The Super Bowl

The best Snyder quote from the piece came when he was talking titles.

"I am absolutely desperate to win a Super Bowl," he told the magazine.

The Ticket Stories

In the piece, Snyder responded to The Post's two-part series about ticket sales from last fall. This is, to the best of my recollection, the first time he's spoken about the series. Here are the relevant passages:

Last year the paper ran a feature story about Snyder suing season ticketholders for reneging on their contracts due to financial hardship. The Post highlighted, in particular, a 72-year-old bankrupt grandmother and a paranoid schizophrenic as two of the suit's targets. This one gets Snyder particularly riled up.

"Wait a minute. These people were club seat owners with eight- to ten-year deals. If someone signs a deal with you, then just decided to break it, wouldn't you sue?" he asks. "The Post seems to go out of their way to twist something." Kris Coratti, communications director at the paper, replies: "Our coverage of the Redskins and its management speaks for itself."

I certainly have no desire to get in the middle of that one, but it's interesting to hear his thoughts on this topic.

Parking

Certainly the oddest part of the story came when it discussed parking at FedEx Field. Obviously the stadium and its location predated Snyder, and I have to imagine that getting 90,000 people in and out of any location without a Metro station would be a nightmare.

Still, a recent study found that the Redskins have the worst game-day traffic in the NFL. An ESPN survey found that the Redskins have the 105th-best stadium experience in major pro sports. In a purely anecdotal sense, people are forever complaining to me about parking and traffic at FedEx, although I personally rarely have problems.

Anyhow, here's from the story:

Jack Kent Cooke Stadium was new and one of the biggest in the league, but it lacked amenities and was a financial laggard. Parking was abysmal. All stadium traffic funneled through a single two-lane road. "I was nervous right out of the gate," says Snyder. "I felt like we could improve a lot of things, but I knew I had to spend a lot of money to make it work."....

Snyder added 10,000 seats, most at premium prices. He wedged an extra 1,500 high-end seats into the front row and the end zones, the first owner to see value in those areas. He added 44 luxury suites which have little touches like flat-screen TVs over the urinals. He fixed the parking and egress. In all he's poured $160 million into the stadium, which cost $250 million to build originally.

I'm not trying to spin or twist this, but I believe this is the first time I've ever read the suggestion that parking and egress at FedEx Field have been "fixed."

Sign-Gate

There is some mention of the story of last season's Burgundy Revolution. Since I spent a lot of time writing about this, I was curious his point of view. Here's from the story:

Toward the end of last year's dreadful 4--12 season fans began bringing anti-Snyder signs into the stadium. (Security took them down; Snyder says he had nothing to do with that.)

One of the front office's top executives went on the radio about midway through last season and said there was "an absolute prohibition" against signs because "they get in the way of other people viewing the game, and people get poked in the head."

I find Forbes's recapping of these incidents a bit odd.

Optimism

The author of the story also wrote a blog post, asking why Snyder is so reviled by fans. Much of that was absurd, as Dave McKenna explained, but I did agree with one line:

Ultimately, if Snyder is able to win a championship, a lot of that hatred will wash away.

Which is why the last two paragraphs of the Forbes story were at least in the stab in the right direction, with Snyder again saying that Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan "make the decisions."

When Snyder first entered the league, he thought he could buy championships. "Now I know better," he says. Maybe that, more than anything else, could finally lead him to a Super Bowl. And vindication.

Bad morning to post this, I realize, but we'll see.

By Dan Steinberg  | September 27, 2010; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Next: Riggins, Brian Mitchell turn on Shanahan

Comments

I actually agree with Snyder that the Post did a hatchet job with the suing the old Granny story. Nothing wrong with suing people who breach contracts. Maybe not the best PR for a football team, but nothing ethically or morally wrong. Having said that, Snyder is a despicable person and everyone knows it. All the interviews in the world won't change that........

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 27, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Club seat and premium seat holders face a yearly 6% or 3% per year increase, depending on the length of the contract. A club seat I purchased in 1997 for $120 is now costing over $340. The team made little or no effort to try to help people who could not afford to pay the price any longer. They wouldn't help at all in directing potential buyers to purchase another person's existing contract becuase there was no wait list for club seats, ever and also because they themselves had so many unsold club and premium seats. Then last year they had the ticket broker resale scandal as well as the team selling unsold seats for half price for 1 to 2 year terms. That basically killed any resale market, even at face value.

Now you see the team pushing club seat sales. You also see them offering free tickets to current club seat holders who expressed a desire to terminate the contract or shorten their contract. The reasoning is that the current seat holder can try to sell the free seat to help offset the rising seat costs.

Wake up club seat sales office! Just bring the price down by at least 50% and I'm sure you will find enough suckers, I mean fans, to buy the kool aid, I mean seats.

Also, there never was just a single 2 lane road funneling traffic into and out of the stadium. Maybe he's talking about the construction phase.

Posted by: bbmcoachk | September 27, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again. Snyder is no marketing genius and he's not innovative. He managed to get his hands on the most popular sports franchise this city has ever had - perhaps ever will have. And he is squeezing every bloody nickel out of his fan base - his customers -- and that's what makes the team so profitable. Smarts and innovation don't have as much to do with it as greed and amorality.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | September 27, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Great article in Forbes and am glad Snyder is talking more and more publicly. Clearly, any fair observer can see that the Washington Post has gone way out of their way to personally attack Snyder over the years. It's especially galling considering the worst and cheapest owner in Washington DC sports history, Abe Pollin, got a pass time and time again by the Post for his absolutely incompetent decisions as an owner. The Post sat on the story about suing fans who had broken their 10 year contracts for months and months, and waited until the eve of the season opener last year to release the story with all their negative spins on the front page of the paper. That is just slimy, scumbag journalism at its best. But what do you expect from a paper that assigned a Redskins-hating, Ravens fan from Bmore as the main beat reporter for the team?

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who cuts down trees on property owned by the National Parks to get a better veiw of the Potomac, is beyond being a spoiled arrogant pig!

All of the press in the world wont change that!

OINK, OINK, danny?

Posted by: sbf845 | September 27, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

That is just slimy, scumbag journalism at its best. But what do you expect from a paper that assigned a Redskins-hating, Ravens fan from Bmore as the main beat reporter for the team?

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

And yet barno1 is always one of the first on this site to defend the regime! The Post thanks you for your continued support!

IF the Redskins win a SuperBowl (and as long as Danny "The Boy" Snyder is at the helm, they won't), but if they do, any good feeling I will have will be washed away having to see him climb his step stool to accept the Lombardi Trophy.

The people who signed up for club level seats DID sign a contract. But the team should have done more to help their FANS/clients/guests/customers during one of the worst economic downturns in American history. I mean, with that 467 year waiting list, there had to be someone who was willing to take the seats. Unless the waiting list is not real.....

Posted by: Leeguru | September 27, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Leeguru, you continue to make a mistake that has been corrected hundreds if not thousands of times on this blog: the waiting list is NOT for club level seats. Never has been, never will be. And it is not the team's responsibility to help irresponsible fans who made irresponsible decisions in signing 10 year contracts for expensive club seats when their finances clearly were not in good enough shape to withstand a downturn in the economy. These are contracts for tens of thousands of dollars, people.

It's the same kind of people that caused the collapse in the housing market by buying homes they could not afford. I do not feel one iota sorry for them, and you shouldn't either.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Snyder's new "openness" policy is teaching us one thing: There's a reason he has kept his mouth shut for so long. What's the old saying, better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?

Face it: Snyder is a charlatan who got lucky-rich running a junk mail empire. Then he leveraged himself to the hilt to buy the Redskins and in the years since he bought the team ALL of his other businesses have failed.

The only reason the Redskins haven't is they are fail-proof. Make cosmetic changes and the same reliable idiots will still write the check for tickets.

There is NOTHING innovative about this dolt — unless you count thinking of new ways to rip off the very fanbase that supports your team as groundbreaking.

Snyder is a DAMN FOOL. This franchise is doomed as long as he is the owner — and since he has NOTHING else going on in his life (another problem, as owners who actually have successful other businesses can't focus on their football team 24/7 the way Snyder does) and quite literally can't sell the team because he's in such deep debt, he's going to be the owner for a long, long time. He is the curse of every Skins fan.

Posted by: thediesel | September 27, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

thediesel, seek professional help.

That is all, carry on.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Barno my man - You're defending to the death the man who has systematically destroyed the Redskins franchise, and yet I need professional help?

You're the type who avoids looking at mirrors, aren't you, bub?

When does your contract as Snyders Rump Swabber run out? Better not try to get out of that one early, you effing loser.

Posted by: thediesel | September 27, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Barno1, why don't you just save us all time and simply repost this every time you feel the need to vomit your thoughts out in this forum. I think you said it best last season when you wrote:

I want to apologize to everyone on the WaPo blogs for my insanely optimistic predictions for the 2009 Redskins. I could not have been any more wrong. I will be taking some time off from the blogs except to continue to apologize and occasionally respond to comments that are addressed to me.I still love the Redskins with all my heart, but needless to say I'm not okay right now.Take care.


Barno - You're still not okay.

Posted by: thediesel | September 27, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

the diesel,

His innovation was, when he first purchased the team, to start charging EVERYONE who wanted to used the name, image or anything else Redskins related a fee. Now yes, this is within his right as the team owner, but the Cooke family had looked at the team as the property of the fans, so they overlooked most of the transgressions. SNyder looked at the fans and saw dollar signs.

Posted by: Leeguru | September 27, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

wow thediesel, I had completely forgotten about Barno's 2009 "predictions" Boy, Ms. Cleo he was not last year.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 27, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Barno is a sendup, right?

Posted by: fitzge | September 27, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

SNyder looked at the fans and saw dollar signs.
Posted by: Leeguru | September 27, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse


And that, in a nutshell, describes where the Skins are right now as an organization and why they're located in the bottom third of the league.

Posted by: stwasm | September 27, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Snyder is an easy target for a reason -- he is prickly, inaccessible and has a history of undermining the people he hired. The Post seems to echo what every fan I know says, so not sure why anyone would think the Post’s coverage is unfair or biased. People like Leonsis because he works hard to be a good owner and cares about fan experience.

As for the stadium, the place is a dump. The parking issues speak for themselves. Inside the stadium, Snyder added approximately 13,000 seats with no apparent additional amenities like bathrooms or gates (kiosks offering a Redskins Visa card do not count). Oh, and the food…ESPN pulled the health inspector reports for FedEx and it had a 36 percent “critical violation” rate. Snyder can’t attribute these problems to the previous owner. He has had the team/stadium for over 10 years – it is his fault.

Snyder does not care because people keep spending money on Redskins’ tickets, gear and other crap. If you do not like Snyder, just remember that every dollar you spend on anything Redskins realted goes to Snyder's pockets. People who spend this money fund his foibles.

Posted by: buster5 | September 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Buster5,

Actually, he also get's 1/32 of every dollar spent on every team's gear as well. NFL revenue sharing. So my family is banned from ANY NFL purchases.

Posted by: Leeguru | September 27, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

wow thediesel, I had completely forgotten about Barno's 2009 "predictions" Boy, Ms. Cleo he was not last year.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 27, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Suuuuure you did Poop...I'm sure you totally forgot about your 48 hour nonstop cutting and pasting of every comment I had every written. I honestly don't know how you did it without sleeping or without the help of some serious caffeine or controlled substances.

But I was wrong in 09 and admitted it ad nauseum.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"IF the Redskins win a SuperBowl any good feeling I will have will be washed away having to see him climb his step stool to accept the Lombardi Trophy."

And yes, I stand by my assertion that thedeisel needs professional help. If the guy truly means what he said...that his hatred of Snyder is so great that he won't enjoy the Redskins winning the Super Bowl, then yes, thedeisel should seek professional help.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Buster5,

Actually, he also get's 1/32 of every dollar spent on every team's gear as well. NFL revenue sharing. So my family is banned from ANY NFL purchases.

Posted by: Leeguru | September 27, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Great idea. I'm sure that the 3 pennies that this will cost Dan Snyder will be the beginning of his fall from billionaire to homeless man.

Good god Redskins fans really need to get a grip.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Barno1

Danny Boy hasn't done anything right since his father passed away and all his father's friends stopped giving him business advice. How did Johnny Rockets and Six Flags work for him.

Danny Boy is the worst owner in pro sports from a fan's point of view and winning. Now if your idea of winning is the bottom line and profit he's your guy.

Might be time to get out the old sign and put it up for all to see from our luxury suite. New Owner wanted!

Skins will never get to a Super Bowl with Danny Boy as owner.

Now Barno1 Danny Boy needs you to apply the Prep H to his rhoids!

3-13 this year looks real good. Mcnabb goes to the Cards for 2011.

Posted by: sheepherder | September 27, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It's easy to call Barno an idiot or a gasbag or a fool. But you have to remember, he's a giant d0uche first and foremost.

Posted by: mack1 | September 27, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I just don't understand this pathological need to defend Dan Snyder's honor to death in the comment sections of every Washington Post article tangentially related to him.

Even if you think the criticism of him is unfair (and the constant over the top characterizations of his personality frequently are). Purely from an objective sense, in 10 years as an owner, what has Dan Snyder done to deserve your unconditional love and support? Why are the Redskins a better (notice how I didn't say more profitable) organization with him as an owner? Why have his teams consistently failed and do you think that will ever change?

Posted by: jbanks979 | September 27, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Barno1:

Dude – do you work for the Redskins? If so, I feel sorry for you having to tow the party line.

The point still is that Snyder has been by far one of the worst owners in the league. How long of a learning curve does this guy need? It has been over ten years. The list of decisions he has made, the latest giving Haynesworth $100M, is long and shameful. Those decisions are funded by fans who buy tickets and all the crap that they market (like the action he gets for branded credit cards and the Virginia lottery, etc.). Think about it: every season ticket holder had some of their money go to Haynesworth.

Is it better to be an idiot that lines Snyder’s pockets because you grew up rooting for this team and blindly support everything that is “Redskins?” Or is it better to say that your wallet is closed up until he sells or stops treating the team like his personal fantasy football team. I want the Redskins to be good, but with one playoff win in 11 years, isn’t it abundantly clear that the way Snyder runs the team is an abject failure from a football standpoint? But he does not care because people keep supporting his bad habits. Something has to change and the more fans that decide that they will no longer fund Snyder’s mistakes, the better.

Posted by: buster5 | September 27, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Jbanks979, those were some thoughtfully worded questions...so I'll respond in kind.

"I just don't understand this pathological need to defend Dan Snyder's honor to death in the comment sections of every Washington Post article tangentially related to him."

2 points. First, I think any reasonable person would agree that this blog thread is more than "tangentially related" to Snyder. Second, I've seen up close what it's like to have the media and public unfairly criticize someone. The media keeps giving the public what it wants--more negative coverage of Snyder--and the public responds in kind by hating the man even more. It's a vicious, never-ending cycle.

"Even if you think the criticism of him is unfair (and the constant over the top characterizations of his personality frequently are)."

Agreed.

"Purely from an objective sense, in 10 years as an owner, what has Dan Snyder done to deserve your unconditional love and support?"

See, this is what gets me. I have criticized Snyder countless times. From his firing Charley Casserly, to his firing Norv Turner while the team was 7-6 and alive in the playoff hunt, from his spending sprees during the offseason in 2000, 2003, and 2006 to his hiring of Steve Spurrier, to his not naming a GM for so many years. I think those are all legitimate criticisms that are in no way excusable and really hurt the team.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse


HOWEVER, I do believe he's done a lot of good things as an owner and as a person which get totally overlooked by the media and the fans. From his convincing Joe Gibbs to come back in 2004 to his spending whatever amount of money it takes to build a quality practice facility to the more than $160 million to improve Fed Ex, to his paying for the entire team and all its staff to fly down to Sean Taylor's funeral, to his helping out former coaches' relatives find better doctors (like Marty Schottenheimer's dad) to his donating more than a million dollars to the victims of 9/11 to his raising and donating millions of dollars to various charities. The Washington Post simply refuses to cover Snyder's numerous charitable endeavors the way they did for Abe Pollin. Trust me, they go out of their way to ignore anything that would put Snyder in a more positive light.

"Why are the Redskins a better (notice how I didn't say more profitable) organization with him as an owner? Why have his teams consistently failed and do you think that will ever change?"

I don't equate good ownership of a sports team with wins and losses, unlike just about every single fan and reporter in this town. Snyder could be the greatest owner ever and it still wouldn't guarantee us any Super Bowl victories. I think Snyder made a bunch of mistakes early on in his ownership but has gotten much better over the years and this past year had to be his best yet (naming a highly respected Bruce Allen as GM, getting a proven head coach, upgrading the stadium with HD jumbotrons & fixing the parking situation at Fed Ex (no issues yet this year)

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I'd gladly take a crummy parking situation, no HD jumbotrons, etc. if it meant more playoff appearances/wins.

But that's just me.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 27, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Poopy, I know you don't appreciate the HD jumbotrons, parking situation, etc but let's not kid ourselves like you actually go to any of the games. It's cool that you live elsewhere and have still kept up with the Skins, I can admire that...

Posted by: Barno1 | September 27, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Okay, hypothetically speaking if I still lived in the area I'd still have season tickets (which I had for a good decade or so) and I'd still trade playoffs and playoff wins for regular-definition jumbotrons, parking situations, etc.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 27, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Barno....thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. This clarifies alot, and addresses most of my earlier misconceptions.

I don't disagree that Snyder has been charitable and financially generous to the team and people associated with the team. I think he should be commended for that. As a fan of the team, I appreciate knowing that he will spend money to improve the team.

However, in contrast to what you stated above, I do equate good ownership of a sports team with wins and losses. To me that's all that matters. An owner is just a steward of the professional sports fandom that people willingly devote their time and resources to enjoy. Whatever his merits as a human being, as you noted above, he has made numerous, repeated, mistakes that have tangibly hurt the teams success.

For 10 years, the team made incredibly short sighted and often asinine decisions that have had negative long term consequences, and Snyder is frequently the one responsible. His ownership is characterized by a non-stop off season hype machine selling the idea that the skins can win the superbowl every year. A good leader is capable of having the patience and foresight to do what is necessary for long term success.

The chiefs were willing to accept a terrible season last year because they sold off their old parts and now have one of the most exciting, up and coming teams in the league. The Packers were willing to part with their most popular player of all time in an acrimonious split, and accept a 6-10 season to allow Aaron Rodgers to have his growing pains. They're now in the top 5 of the NFL. Prior to 2010, the only football people Snyder showed any kind of loyalty to was Vinnie Cerrato and Joe Gibbs. I will freely admit that winning would change everything regarding my perception of Snyder. But for that to happen, he first has to show the patience to a long term commitment to winning.

Hiring a legit GM and head coach is a step in the right direction

Posted by: jbanks979 | September 27, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

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