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  • Writer's pictureMark Olivito

The Danger of Over-Valuing Star Players: Even One’s With Great Nicknames

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

Maria Bartiromo, dubbed the “Money Honey” announced her departure from CNBC to head over to rival Fox Business News. By all accounts, Bartiromo’s 20 years with CNBC were great for both the network AND her career and she’s generally regarded as a superstar, attracting many A-listers and strong ratings.

The departure appears amicable (only those on the inside really know however). From the NY Times on 11/18:

“After 20 years of groundbreaking work at CNBC, Maria Bartiromo will be leaving the company as her contract expires on November 24th,” the network said in a statement. “Her contributions to CNBC are too numerous to list but we thank her for all of her hard work over the years and wish her the best.”

“The signing is a coup of sorts for Fox Business, which has struggled to establish a profile. Last week, Fox Business averaged fewer than 10,000 viewers in the group that attracts advertisers, those between the ages of 25 and 54. CNBC had more than three times as many with 31,000.”

The questions that are always asked when a superstar leaves are predictable:

  • How much will this hurt?

  • Can we afford to let them go, especially to a rival?

  • What are the players that remain saying? Will they rally and be able to fill their shoes?

  • Is this a warning sign for top executives to pay attention too, a wake-up call?

  • From the rivals that scored the great talent: Great steal, now we are on our way!

All of these are predictable when a Star leaves your team. And in my experience, all over-dramatized.

YES, a star like Bartiromo deserves all the accolades and good fortune she has earned. However, a business is made up of more than just stars. And some businesses that dominate, stars happen to be the norm.

CNBC happens to be #1. If the figures for daily viewers are accurate and CNBC is pulling in 31k to Fox Business News 10k, AND if these are these are 2 leading business networks (Bloomberg networks may be in the mix too), that’s a pretty hefty Market Share. Probably 50+% share of this audience (would be 75% with just these 2). Market Share Matters, POWER is the most important missing “P” of the marketing mix.

Here’s the deal. You don’t get to be #1, by a massive margin with 1 star player. You get to this spot in business with a TEAM of stars, and a TEAM of support players.

I happen to be a CNBC Junkie. I am at my desk at 5:30 CST after working out (Start Early!) and consider Squawk Box mandatory viewing for anyone in business. The talent on this show and others is off the chart. Any one of them could step into the role and they wouldn’t miss a beat. But they would not need too, their “Bench” is deep and they appear frequently on many shows. This assignment wouldn’t faze them; in fact it would energize them.

Loosing key stars is a fact of business life. It should always be taken seriously. And it’s also a sign that you are developing grade A talent. Just make sure you have a hungry and talented bench ready to step up.

Bartiromo’s final bid farewell was all class, and she went down a thank you list a mile long.

All stars by definition, recognize that it takes more than just enormous talent, it takes a TEAM, or in her case, a CAST to make the best production possible.

Bartiromo will go on to achieve great things. As for CNBC, it will take more than just a star or 2 to knock them off their leadership perch.

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