Circus News

Did Disney Kill the Circus?

So, as you have probably heard, Feld Entertainment has decided to end the 146 year run of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus this May. While this is an emotional moment for many that grew up with the tradition of going to the circus, I can’t help but wonder if Disney is to blame.

Let me explain by giving a bit of history. The Feld family became involved in the circus when they purchased the show in 1967 for $8 million. And despite a stint of ownership by Mattel, they have had operational and creative control ever since. In 1980, Kenneth Feld negotiated a licensing agreement with Disney to bring some magic into their struggling ice shows, which they acquired the year prior. Later, Feld added other shows to their stable including Marvel Universe Live and Monster Trucks through the purchase of Live Nation’s Motor Sports Division. As time went on, the circus’s role in providing revenue decreased. A report says that only 15% of Feld’s $1.3 billion in revenue comes from the circus. Keep this in mind, the circus has only two units and is limited to the United States while Feld estimates that the company performs 100 shows in 23 cities worldwide each week.

As the circus’s role in the company has shrunk, Disney’s importance has increased. With nine Disney On Ice tours running throughout the United States and internationally, one tour of Marvel Universe Live, and several editions of Disney Live!, it is obvious that part of Feld’s success is built on the backs of Disney brands.

Since Feld is privately owned, financial information is not publicly available. This makes it difficult to determine how big the Disney tours are compared to Feld Motor Sports which will be the biggest remaining brands within the Feld organization. But one would presume that a big chunk of Feld’s’ revenue comes from the multitude of Disney shows. At least, for now…

Link to Full Article on Laughing Place

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