Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to Close in May 2017

Posted on January 15, 2017

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is closing after 146 years. The circus will run its final performances in May 2017. Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the circus, cites a decline in ticket sales combined with high costs as an explanation for the closure.

Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, says in a statement that there was a dramatic drop in ticket sales after the circus elephants performed their last show om 2-16. Feld says, "After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will hold its final performances in May of this year. Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company."

Feld also says, "Nearly 50 years ago, my father founded our company with the acquisition of Ringling Bros. The circus and its people have continually been a source of inspiration and joy to my family and me, which is why this was such a tough business decision to make. The decision was even more difficult because of the amazing fans that have become part of our extended circus family over the years, and we are extremely grateful to the millions of families who have made Ringling Bros. part of their lives for generations. We know Ringling Bros. isn’t only our family business, but also your family tradition."

The final circus performances will be at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on May 7, and at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21, 2017. Feld has other live entertainment properties including Marvel Universe LIVE!, Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross and Disney On Ice.

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