Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hope You Wave the White One

You know Daniel Snyder as a man willing to spend whatever it takes to have a successful Washington Redskins franchise. You laugh at him when he can't buy a championship and his team is usually last in the NFC East. After reading this story I think you will find even more schadenfreude when his team tanks.

Snyder helped run Six Flags into the ground after taking over in 2005. When Snyder became the primary shareholder Six Flags was trading at nearly $12 per share. Last week the share price was under 2 cents when Snyder was ousted as chairman by the board of directors. Running the business into the ground is one thing, but some of the business practices that Snyder employed lacked business ethics and a care for his customers.

Snyder hired his cronies such as CEO Mark Shapiro (former head ESPN responsible for shows such as Cold Pizza). Shapiro proceeded to falsely testify in order to line Snyder’s pockets. "In 2007, Snyder sent Mark Shapiro to lobby the Agawam mayor and the town council into banning visitors from parking at the non-Six Flags-owned lots. Shapiro testified at a public hearing that it was unsafe for pedestrians to walk to Six Flags from anywhere but its own lots. The local politicians banned the satellite lots after Shapiro's appearance."

This is bullshit of course. Snyder just wanted to force the customers to park in his lots and charge you and arm and a leg to park (as much as $30). Fortunately the ruling was later overturned.

Snyder promoted the Flash Pass at Six Flags park which grants VIP status to everyone who forked over a ticket premium as much as $112.  The Flash Pass enables customers to jump to the front of the line because they paid nearly double the price of admission.  This is essentially a way to make a day in the park at Six Flags more tolerbable and a way to say fuck you to people who paid full admission price.  For anyone whose been to theme parks you know the lines are the worst part of the experience.  Of course Six Flags is not the only theme park to implement this price gouging scam but Snyder loves ripping his customers off so much that he implemented Fast Lane Card to bypass security lines at Redskins FedEx Field.  $100 a season allows season ticket holders to bypass security lines. Synder also intends to capitalize an a fans desire to support his team at all costs.

Those not even yet on the aledgedly 200,000 plus waiting listing could jump to the front of the line if they had a few extra thousand dollars lying around to join a premium club.  One of the premium clubs, called the "touchdown club,"  allows for the purchase of lower level season tickets if you pump about $7,000 into the club.  This is similar to Personal Seat Liscenses that have been put in place across the country, but varies from donation programs applied in collegiate atheltics.  Money there goes directly to funding athletic programs including those bleeding the school in the red (insert Title IX jab here). Snyder is not alone though so its somewhat unfair to just pick on him but he is part of the problem. The money from the touchdown club may go to building a team but it also goes towards fattening Snyder's wallet.

Speaking on fattening, Snyder has come under fire for placing many the companies he owns in Six Flags, such as Johnny Rockets.  "So even as he ran a public company into the ground, Snyder managed to keep money flowing into his wallet via pacts with private business he controlled.  That makes Snyder a personal-interest savant, but not a business genius." (Slate article)  As you might guess majority shareholders are pissed off and are contesting that Snyder should be held accountable.

Snyder like many other businesses and businessmen forgot or don't care about customer service.  He is more concerned with driving profits in the short run that he fails to realize what could happen in the long run.  I'm willing to bet that some people stopped going to Six Flags all together when they were charged $30 for parking or that their price of admission still put them at a disadvantage for those who paid for the "Flash Pass".  The "skip the security line" should be criminal, even if the primary reason for the searches are to prevent people from bringing their own food and negative signs into the games.  Snyder can make his money capitalizing on the loyal Redskins fan base, but he won't be winning any awards for owner of the year.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how much money is actually going into his pocket, considering the guy is probably still paying the likes of Bruce Smith and Dana Stubblefield. Hell, Patrick Ramsey is probably still drawing some sort of paycheck with his signature on it. Fortunately, I think the Johnny Rockets scenario is going to work out for him, since rumor has it Donovan McNabb has the option to take half his salary in Johnny Rockets cheeseburgers.