Sunday, March 24, 2013

The costs of the circus at the Barclays Center: ticket fees, expensive programs, and children "gasping and crying"

Prices for the Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus at the Barclays Center may seem reasonable--they start at $24 but group tickets go for $16, and kids' tickets for weekday performances go for $12.

Oops. That's where the gouging starts. Would you believe that, at least via Ticketmaster, those $12 tickets come with $8.90 in fees, so they actually cost $20.90?

Then come the concessions.

While other Barclays Center events sell t-shirts and other souvenirs outside on the plaza, none display quite the hucksterism as displayed in the video below.

You've got to get your program now, before you go inside the building," the man at the yellow booth barks. " Each family must have a program.... They do autograph signing with the program."

Programs cost $15. (Update: this video suggests they're doing what they can to downplay mention of the $15 price. Perhaps this post had an impact.)

Inside, I'm told, the souvenirs are quite costly. But parents don't want to disappoint their kids, do they?



It's all a reminder of how Nets/arena CEO Brett Yormark famously claimed, in a December 2008 Newark Star-Ledger profile, that he'd never heard of P.T. Barnum.

A blogger's take

Most everyone loves the circus, right? This 3/20/13 review on the Brooklyn Mama's network is an interesting counter to some of the hype, especially since the reviewer did get free tickets:
Despite a $9.3 million dollar win in court last year, the circus’ treatment of animals is questionable at best. That is made even more apparent while watching the show from the 5th row of an arena where parents can clearly see how aggressively the animals are handled. That combined with the blatant gender and racial stereotypes within the performance like the exclusively African American basketball unicycle teams, and the 30 minute long “boys against girls competition” (announced as such) that involved girls dressed in pink and boys in blue, made this an “amazing” experience for all.
The highlight however, happened only 10 minutes into the show with white bunny rabbits being aggressively handled and shoved by the neck into a box with a boa constrictor. Yes, there was most surely a secondary box to protect the little bunnies, but this did not stop children in the audience from gasping and crying. The underwhelming performances, loud music, and all around poor production combined with the branded elephants, bad American Idol spinoff skit and crying children makes this a definite miss for you and your family.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:44 AM

    I took the grand kids yesterday. In my mind I already knew it would cost me at least $100 when I got there. Actually $15 for a program isn't that bad. Brabra one was $35 I think...and even she commented on how pricey it was. It was cheaper on her website. The cotton candy with a hat was $12. Popcorn was $8. It cost $12 for two passes to use one of the games on the floor for the pre show. I bought $20 of other food and $40 for two toys for them. $92 in total. We had great seats row 10 in section 9. It was a great spectacle but pricey. The Big Apple Circus(which is Brooklyn based as their office is in MetroTeck), charges more for the tickets less for the toys but will cost you about the same in the end...and the Greatest show on earth is still the greatest show on earth. I personally liked the rabbits best.

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