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Ringing Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to close in May; occupied chunk of Barclays Center calendar

One year after bowing to pressure from animal rights activists (and more) and removing elephants from its shows, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will close down the 146-year-old circus, citing increased costs and a higher than expected decline in ticket sales.

PETA claimed victory and called for other animal circuses to follow suit.

The circus has had an important place on the event calendar at the Barclays Center. with 15 performances upcoming in nine days, from Feb. 23 through March 3. (That also meant circus performers in trailers essentially camping out on "the pad" outside the arena loading dock, or parked on neighborhood streets.) And it was to be a staple of the revamped Nassau Coliseum, with 17 shows over nine days, from May 12 through May 21.

Both venues, operated by the same parent company, will now have to find substitute family-friendly entertainment.

According to CBS, the animals in the shows will be placed in suitable homes, while only a small number of the 500 people who work on the two touring shows are expected to get jobs with the company's other shows, including Marvel Universe LIVE!, Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

The press release

Feld Entertainment Announces Final Performances of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus in May 2017

Ellenton, Fla. – January 14, 2017 – Feld Entertainment Inc., parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® and the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment, announced today that the iconic 146-year-old circus would hold its final performances later this year. Ringling Bros.®’ two circus units will conclude their tours with their final shows 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.

The decision to end the circus tours was made as a result of high costs coupled with a decline in ticket sales, making the circus an unsustainable business for the company. Following the transition of the elephants off the circus, the company saw a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated.

“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey was the original property on which we built Feld Entertainment into a global producer of live entertainment over the past 50 years,” said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “We are grateful to the hundreds of millions of fans who have experienced Ringling Bros. over the years. Between now and May, we will give them one last chance to experience the joy and wonder of Ringling Bros.”

“This was a difficult business decision to make, but by ending the circus tours, we will be able to concentrate on the other lines of business within the Feld Entertainment portfolio,” said Juliette Feld, Feld Entertainment’s Chief Operating Officer. “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.

Feld Entertainment’s portfolio includes Marvel Universe LIVE!, Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross and Disney On Ice, among others. The company recently announced a new partnership to produce live tours of Sesame Street and expanded television coverage for the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross races.

Complete details on the remaining Ringling Bros. performances can be found online at Ringling.com. Members of the media can visit www.feldmediaguides.com/outofthisworld or www.feldmediaguides.com/circusxtreme for visual assets.

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