While sports fans can be demanding, they usually have reasonable expectations for the owner of their favorite team. Ideally, the big man or woman upstairs will fall in a sweet spot; they’ll be passionate enough about the franchise to keep the money flowing and hold everyone to a high standard, but aren’t hands-on enough to interfere with football decisions. During his time in Washington, D.C., Redskins owner Dan Snyder hasn’t cleared that bar.
While his ownership of the Washington Redskins has been an exercise in futility, Dan Snyder won’t be running out of money anytime soon. Like every other NFL owner, he still has a massive $2.6 billion net worth.
Dan Snyder’s road to NFL ownership
When you imagine an NFL owner, you’re probably picturing someone born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Dan Snyder’s life story, however, is a bit different.
As chronicled by Harry Jaffe of The Washingtonian, Snyder’s youth was a bit different. As the son of a freelance writer, Snyder didn’t grow up wealthy; despite spending some time in England and Queens, New York, things weren’t a globetrotting fairy tale. “We didn’t have any money,” the future NFL owner explained. “Or a television. “There were times when my father and I walked down the street to the TV store to watch Redskin games.”
After high school, Snyder headed to college but didn’t find a niche; instead of studying, he wanted to start a business. He got into the travel game at age 20, selling spring break vacations to students. Snyder also created a magazine for the college crowd and secured a $3 million loan from U.S. News & World Report publisher Mort Zuckerman. The venture, however, would go belly-up.
In 1989, however, everything changed. With some help from his family, Snyder founded Snyder Communications “to develop wallboard advertising and distribute product samples—such as soaps and packages of medicine—to colleges and doctors’ offices.” While the business model may seem simple, it took off and kept growing. After countless expansions and acquisitions, Dan Snyder had hit it big.
A tumultuous time owning the Washington Redskins
In 1998, the Washington Redskins went up for sale. Dan Snyder initially partnered with Howard and Edward Milstein in an attempt to buy the team; after their bid fell through, Snyder put together his own pitch and got the deal done.
Since then, little has gone well in Washington, D.C., or, more accurately, Landover, Maryland. During Snyder’s time at the helm, the Redskins have gone 142-191-1; they’ve made the playoffs five times during that 21-year stretch, never progressing further than the divisional round.
Beyond the Redskins’ name—which Snyder consistently defended—there have been plenty of problems with the club. As spelled out by Bill-in-Bangkok on Hogs Haven, the team’s ownership seems to be the root cause of a multitude of sins. From a terrible injury track record and poor personnel decisions to a dispirited fan base being nickel and dimed at every opportunity, the buck seems to stop with the owner.
For all of the Washington Redskin’s struggles, Dan Snyder still has billions in the bank
During his time at the helm of the Redskins, Dan Synder hasn’t returned the franchise to its former glory. That reality, however, hasn’t hurt his bottom line.
In Forbes’ 2019 franchise valuations, the Redskins clocked in at 14th overall with an estimated price tag of $3.1 billion. The publication also pegs Snyder’s personal net worth at $2.6 billion. While that only makes him the 804th richest person in the world, it speaks to the financial might of the NFL; even a famously dysfunctional franchise can still rake in money.
Based on his road to riches and his impressive net worth, Dan Snyder clearly has some business acumen. During his time as an NFL owner, however, he hasn’t been too successful.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference