Circus News

The End of Ringling Bros. Is Not the End of Circuses

The hallowed brand may soon be no more, but variations on the circus form continue to thrive, and new models may emerge.

There was a time when the circus coming to town represented a major event, and even though there were others, for many, “circus,” meant the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey version.

It was only a few years ago that the company would announce its arrival in major cities like New York or Baltimore with a parade of elephants through downtown on the way to whatever major arena the company would take over for weeks. The circus was such an event that major National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams went on long road trips so their home arenas could host extended engagements of “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Now, of course, Feld Entertainment, the owner of the iconic brand has announced that the Ringling Bros. circus will have its final performances now through May. It’s the end of a nearly 150-year tradition, but it may not be the end of the art form, even though it’s a stunning loss.

Why is Ringling closing?

Feld blamed the closing on a combination of rising costs coupled with declining attendance. Specifically, the circus’ owner cited dropping elephants from the circus — something it did in response to activist pressure — as causing steeper-than-expected ticket sales declines.

“This was a difficult business decision to make,” said Juliette Feld, Feld Entertainment’s Chief Operating Officer in a press release. “Now that we have made this decision, as a company, and as a family, we will strive to support our circus performers and crew in making the transition to new opportunities,” she added.

Joe Gold, Principal of The Gold Group, a marketing company that also runs museums and exhibits across the country, laid out the challenging economics in an interview with The Motley Fool. “I don’t have any inside knowledge,” the one-time Feld vice president made clear regarding the actual shutdown, but having worked for the company and in the industry, Gold does have an insider’s understanding of the economics.

Joe Gold, principal of The Gold Group, a marketing company that also runs museums and exhibits across the country, laid out the challenging economics in an interview with The Motley Fool. “I don’t have any inside knowledge,” the one-time Feld vice president made clear regarding the actual shutdown, but having worked for the company and in the industry, Gold does have an insider’s understanding of the economics.

Link to Full Article on Motley Fool

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