Broncos Owner and CEO Greg Penner has brought a wealth of experience as the chairman of Walmart to his first year leading the Broncos. And while the learning curve for NFL football is significant, Penner has been able to translate the lessons he's learned in the corporate world to running an NFL franchise.
In a feature with the Wall Street Journal, Penner reflected on what he learned since the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group acquired the Broncos last year — and it begins and ends with Denver's fans.
"Your shareholders care about your results and stock price," Penner told Wall Street Journal writer Andrew Beaton. "But what the fans want is the right product on the field, and you're measured every Sunday."
Penner and the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group have been proactive about improving on last season's disappointing result, introducing changes aimed at boosting both the product on the field and the fan experience. The group invested $100 million into upgrades to Empower Field at Mile High and hired Super Bowl-winning Head Coach Sean Payton.
Penner said his approach with the Broncos has mirrored what has sparked success at Walmart.
"The core principles are the same as a place like Walmart which is: you need the right people, you've got to set really high expectations, give the resources and then hold them accountable," Penner said.
The feature also included insight from one of the league's most established and successful owners, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. In a league as difficult as the NFL, Kraft said Penner's experience problem-solving in the corporate world is an invaluable tool in his role as an NFL owner.
"If I'm a Bronco fan, I feel really good that I have people who are custodians of the franchise who are going to do whatever they can to put it in the best position to win," Kraft told the Wall Street Journal.