(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, has been selected as the 2005 recipient of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce William Penn Award. Snider joins a long and prestigious list of those who have been awarded Greater Philadelphia's highest honor for business leaders.
Snider is best known for bringing professional hockey to Greater Philadelphia and for guiding the Philadelphia Flyers to consecutive National Hockey League Championships in the mid-1970s. He came to Philadelphia in 1964 as vice president of the Philadelphia Eagles, before pursuing aspirations to bring a professional hockey franchise to Philadelphia, which he accomplished in 1967. Snider's efforts have landed him in the NHL Hall of Fame, and his civic contributions have endeared him to citizens of Greater Philadelphia.
Without seeking public contribution, Snider was the catalyst behind the construction of the Spectrum, the arena which served as the home of the Flyers and the Philadelphia 76ers. Snider eventually gained control of the arena and created Spectacor to oversee the Flyers as well as the Spectrum.
Under Snider's leadership, Spectacor became a national force, founding or acquiring nearly 12 associated businesses, before merging with Comcast Corp., in 1996. Comcast-Spectacor has grown to become one of the nation's largest and most successful sports enterprises with control of the Wachovia Spectrum, the Wachovia Center, the Flyers, 76ers, and Philadelphia Phantoms. The company has also ventured into broadcasting and aligned with the Philadelphia Phillies to create the highly-rated network Comcast SportsNet.
In the mid-1990s, Snider built the $210 million state-of-the-art Wachovia Center using primarily private funding at a time when most sports franchises relied on significant public funds for new facilities. The Center has since help pour tens of millions of dollars into the Greater Philadelphia region, serving as host of the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, the 2001 and 2002 X- Games, and as the site of the 2000 Republican National Convention.
"Ed Snider has shown what determination, hard work, and vision can accomplish," said Mark S. Schweiker, president and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. "Mr. Snider runs one of the most successful franchises in sports, has revived our region's pro basketball team, and built two world- class arenas, all of which has added to our region's attractiveness. Mr. Snider's sports and media empire is a significant economic engine for Greater Philadelphia, and he gives selflessly of his time and financial resources to the community as a whole. He has been a stalwart leader in this region for four decades and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is proud that Ed Snider has accepted the 2005 William Penn Award."
Not one to rest on his laurels, Snider has continued to build business ventures. In the last four years Comcast-Spectacor has created the Flyers Skate Zone, a series of regional ice skating rinks; Global Spectrum, an international facilities management company; Ovations Food Services, an international concessions company; New Era Tickets, a company which specializes in providing innovative technological solutions for box office management, event management and customer communications; and owns three minor league baseball affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles.
Along with the life his sports franchises breathe into the region, Snider is also involved in a number of community and charitable organizations. He is benefactor and advisory board member of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Center of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and serves on the board of Overseers of the Wharton School, The Objectivist Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the National Celiac Awareness Foundation. He is a past recipient of the Anti-Defamation League's Americanism Award.
Snider will be honored at the William Penn Gala, a black-tie event which will be held on April 22 at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. As the 2005 winner of the William Penn Award, Snider joins an impressive list of past recipients including Rev. Leon Sullivan, founder of OIC; Eugene Ormandy, former director of Philadelphia Orchestra; Willard G. Rouse, III, chair, Liberty Property Trust; G. Fred DiBona, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Independence Blue Cross; Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg; Ronald Rubin, president, Pennsylvania Realty Investment Trust; and Judith Rodin, former president, University of Pennsylvania. — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen