In May 2017, Ringling Bros. will hold its last two shows. The parent company -Feld Entertainment - will continue in existence with its other shows.
Ironically Ringling won $26.2 million in settlements in lawsuits associated with animal rights. But it kept losing in the marketplace. Here is the coverage in the Daily Mail.
The tipping point was when it made the decision to eliminate elephants from the show to prevent trouble with the animal-rights activists. Many bought tickets just to watch the elephants. When they were sent off to an animal sanctuary ticket sales plummeted.
But just as much a factor in the reason audiences dwindled was Ringling's inability to come up with the kind of breakthrough sophistication of Cirque du Soleil.
Those of you who have been fascinated by the Ringling Clown College should know that it was closed down long before Ringling's current troubles. Actually it was in 1997. The Clown College generated enormous positive public relations for Feld Entertainment. In the era before digital forms of entertainment, clowning was a major craft and art. There had to be a clown at children's parties.
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