Dan Snyder, the controlling interest in Six Flags as well as the owner of the Washington Redskins, installed his crack management team to solve that Six Flags things over there when he forcefully took control of the company in 2005. Mark Shapiro, formerly the ESPN programming chief, took the reins and promptly instituted cheerleaders, which should have taken care of the company’s money woes.
(”No, no… we had Bugs Bunny tested and his theta levels are stellar. So are you interested in investing?”)
Somehow, though, young men and women hopping up and down rhythmically didn’t wash away the $2.4 billion in debt nor the losses each quarter. Therefore, Six Flags is following the cool kids in town and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just to ditch most of the debt and then climb right back out. You know, like that time you ran up $50,000 on your credit cards, declared bankruptcy, ditched the debt, and kept your house and car.
Times is tough. We all know it. And when the recession is hitting the economy so hard that the most famous amusement park chain in the country might go into bankruptcy proceedings, it’s a dark day. We can’t even sell fun, people! Sad faces everywhere.
(Snyder quickly offered the roller coaster $40 million over 6 years.)
And so with a stock price well under a quarter, Six Flags is suspended from trading at the New York Stock Exchange, according to the LA TIMES. Incidentally, the Chairman of the Board at Six Flags is one Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins. Should bankruptcy be the call, Snyder’s stake in the company will probably be wiped out, which can’t be good news for the ‘Skins - how good do you think Clinton Portis is feeling about that deferred compensation now?
But there’s a deeper sports connection here, one that’s far more unsettling and unfair. Because according to BLOOMBERG, while shareholders are getting taken to the cleaners, the CEO - a former sports figure - is set to collect a handsome sum of money from the proceedings under an apparently unironically-named “success bonus”: Read more…
When Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins and noted spokesman for Short Man’s Disease, installed Mark Shapiro, former ESPN executive VP of programming, as the CEO of Six Flags in 2005 at a rumored cost of $10m in guaranteed salary and bonuses, he certainly hoped for better than cockroach eating contests and finding exciting new lows for the stock price.
Thankfully, 2008 will finally be the year that hire pays off for Snyder. They’re hired away their CFO from Euro Disney, agreed to terms to build Six Flags Over Dubai, and only posted a $253m loss last year. Also, Shapiro has finally figured out how to lure the key teen demographic back to the parks. (No, not Guitar Hero contests. That would be ridiculous.)
(Six Flags Marketing meeting)
That’s right: theme park cheerleaders!