Saturday, May 17, 2008

Snyder ruins Six Flags

When I was in high school and college, I worked three summers at Six Flags Over Georgia. The company ran a tight ship and enforced high standards. The pay was low, but you were proud to work there.

The park was lavishly landscaped and immaculately clean, the employees were cheerful, courteous and well-groomed, and Six Flags regularly set records for attendance and what management called "per cap," which is the average amount spent inside the park by each guest. (They were always "guests," never "customers.")

Apparently, since Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder led a hostile takeover of the Six Flags parent corporation in 2005, he's nearly ruined it. The Washington City Paper has the lowlights of Snyder's tenure, including my favorite:

Nov. 9, 2007: [The company's stock] closes at $1.88, representing a 70-percent drop since Oct. 24, 2005, when Snyder called for the removal of then-Chairman Kieran Burke in a letter to Six Flags shareholders. At the core of Snyder’s bid to get rid of Burke was this argument: “Stockholders would have been better off hiding their money under a mattress” than investing in the company under Burke, Snyder wrote. On the day that letter was registered with the SEC, a share of Six Flags stock was trading at $7.35. (Emphasis added.)
Can you beat that for absolute boneheadedness? Telling stockholders that the chairman's stewardship of the company has been so abysmal that they'd be "better off hiding their money under a mattress"?

Also, try this quote from a less-than-satisfied Six Flags guest: "I remember smoke and the smell of burning. I felt like I was going to die."

That's from a teenage girl whose feet were chopped off by a Six Flags ride. Yeah, and then there's the class-action lawsuits after more than 400 guests fell ill from a virus that causes "the sudden onset of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea."

The Snyder-owned Six Flags was named in November as one of the "worst managed companies in the United States" by analyst Scott Rothbort, whose prognosis was blunt: "The next stop ... is bankruptcy."

Attaboy, Dan!

(The first year after Snyder bought the 'Skins, the team went 10-6 and made the playoffs. In the eight seasons since then, the team has accumulated a regular-season record of 58-70 and has gotten two wild-card playoff slots, with a postseason record of 1-2. Along the way, Snyder has engaged in such classy moves as selling the naming rights to the stadium to FedEx. The 'Skins, who won three Super Bowls in the '80s and '90s, haven't made it as far as a conference championship game since winning Super Bowl XXVI in 1992.)

1 comment:

  1. I think Dan Snyder and Mark Shapiro are doing a good job for 2008 season. They have come up with heavy discounts and other Six Flags Promo Codes which has bumped up the parks attendance.