Ed Snider died Monday, April 11, 2016, after a long battle with cancer.
Ed first made his mark in the sports business in 1966 when he founded the Philadelphia Flyers. Five years later he bought out the Spectrum arena, and then created Spectacor as a management company to oversee the Flyers and Spectrum. Over the next 20 years, Spectacor grew to be a national force in sports and entertainment. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1996, Ed merged Spectacor with Comcast Corporation to form Comcast-Spectacor, which operated sports teams, stadiums, a cable channel, and much more.
At The Atlas Society’s 50th anniversary celebration of Atlas Shrugged in 2007, Ed gave a wonderful talk about his start in business, reading the novel and then meeting Ayn Rand to discuss a project to promote her ideas on campuses. Brief as it was, the talk was elegant, funny, and moving.
Ed was instrumental in starting the Ayn Rand Institute in 1985. After I founded The Atlas Society, he joined our board in 1995 and served until 2009. His impact was enormous; in addition to his major financial support he contributed his business acumen to board decisions.
Ed invested philanthropically in many other causes and organizations in education, health research, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to name just a few.
Ed had the patrician look and bearing (without the character flaws) of Gail Wynand in The Fountainhead. But he was open and interested in people from all walks of life. On a visit to his office once, we went for lunch to a local diner. On the way out, a Flyers fan approached him to challenge a call in a recent hockey game. Ed must have heard that kind of thing endlessly, but he engaged the man with courtesy and thanked him.
Our world, and the world at large, has lost a truly great man.