What Most People Don’t Know About Daniel Snyder

Many people know Daniel Snyder as the owner of the Washington Football Team in the National Football League. He has owned the team since 1999, when he purchased it from the estate of Jack Kent Cooke, for upwards of $800 million – the largest transaction for ownership of an NFL team at the time.

However, there’s a lot more to know about Dan Snyder than just the role he has played in the history of the NFL.


Daniel Snyder was born November 23, 1964, in Maryland, to Arlette, and Gerald, a freelance writer for United Press International and National Geographic. Daniel attended Hillandale Elementary School in Silver Spring. At 12, he went to a private school in Henley-on-Thames, a town located outside of London, and then moved to Queens, New York at the age of 14. He finished high school in Maryland at Charles W. Woodward High School.

Early Career

Dan Snyder’s first job was at a B. Dalton when he was 14 years old. By the time he was 20, he had achieved his first serious business success with just a few phone lines operating out of his parents’ bedroom. He leased jets to fly college students to spring break destinations in the Caribbean and Florida, and says that he earned over $1 million in this DIY, startup atmosphere with just one friend helping him.

Over the next several years, he built his business contacts and tried a number of other ventures, including a magazine for college students and a marketing company that aimed to offer segmented, highly targeted advertising in an era when mass marketing was still king.

Major Successes

This momentum ultimately helped lead Dan Snyder and his sister Michele to found Snyder Communications Inc., which provided marketing services to Fortune 500 companies. The company launched in 1998 and went public in 1996, making Dan Snyder, at the age of 32, the youngest CEO of an NYSE-listed company.

In the years that followed, he expanded Snyder Communications aggressively, ultimately selling the company to Havas, a French advertising and marketing group, for over $2 billion. This was the largest transaction in the history of their industry, and Snyder personally earned over $300 million from the sale.

Additional Pursuits

In November of 2005, Snyder’s company, Red Zone, took control of Six Flags Inc.’s board of directors, and he was involved with the company until 2009. In July 2006, he also launched three sports radio stations in Washington D.C. under the Triple X ESPN radio umbrella. He has purchased additional stations in the mid-Atlantic region and airs Washington Football Team games on them.

Snyder purchased Dick Clark Productions for $175 million and owned the company from 2007-2012 and produced the film Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise, in 2008. Snyder also purchased Johnny Rockets in 2007, selling the company to Sun Capital Partners in 2013. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Ventiv Health and a board member of McLeod USA.

Personal Life

Daniel Snyder married Tanya Ivey in 1994. Tanya is a national spokesperson for breast cancer awareness after her own cancer diagnosis and successful treatment in 2008. They have three children and reside in Maryland.

Charitable Giving

Dan Snyder donated $1 million to the victims of the September 11 attacks, $600,000 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and covered shipping costs to provide aid to victims of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand. After Hurricane Matthew, he used his private plane to provide emergency supplies to the Bahamas and send medical aid to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

In 2000, Dan Snyder founded the Washington Football Team Charitable Foundation. He has also been a supporter of Youth For Tomorrow, founded by former Washington Football Team head coach Joe Gibbs, and Snyder was given its Distinguished Leader Award in 2010.

He also founded the Washington Football Team Original Americans Foundation in order to provide resources and aid for tribal communities. His giving has also included contributions to the Washington Children’s Hospital and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which gave Dan and Tanya the Charles B. Wang International Children’s Award in May of 2014.