The parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Feld Entertainment, Inc., announced over the weekend that the 146-year-old circus will hold its final performances in May 2017.
According to the Associated Press, the company broke the news to the circus’ nearly 500 employees after shows in Orlando and Miami over the weekend.
Started in the late 1800s by Phineas Taylor Barnum as a show of animal and human oddities, it soon merged with the Ringling brothers’ juggling act and started traveling across the country by train. The Feld family acquired the circus in 1967.
News of its closing was met with mixed responses as many have revered the circus as an institution in wholesome family entertainment while others have denounced and protested the show for its use of exotic animals.
The decision came as a result of increasing operation costs, declining ticket sales, and costly legal battles, making the show more difficult to produce. PETA and other animal rights groups have long protested the circus, and after several state and local laws challenged the company’s use of exotic animals, it ended its elephant act in May of 2016, causing a decline in ticket sales even greater than had been anticipated.
In recent years, Ringling Bros. had made several attempts to recapture its audience, hiring its first African-American ringmaster, then its first female ringmaster, and then adding motorbike daredevils and ice skaters. But ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ proved to be no match for a generation of children who prefer digital entertainment.
The existing animals – donkeys, llamas, kangaroos, camels, tigers, lions and alpacas – will be found new homes and the company will continue to oversee and operate the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephants.
Tickets for the final shows at Amalie Arena January 25, 2017 - January 29, 2017, are already on sale. Click the link below and hit the Tickets button to buy your tickets for their final Tampa performances.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents CIRCUS XTREME. It's time for your family to be amazed by all the X-TRAORDINARY things you know and love about America's favorite live family entertainment
Read more bout this fun event in More than a circus: The Ringling Bros. Inspire and Make Positive Change. Looking for more Things to do in Tampa, simply follow the link!