The tremors from late Saturday’s dramatic announcement that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is closing after 146 years are already being felt in Manatee County, where the circus’ corporate parent, Feld Entertainment Studios, is headquartered.
A media briefing at Feld Entertainment has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday where Kenneth Feld, chairman and chief executive officer of Feld Entertainment is expected to talk about how the closing will impact an estimated 500 people who perform and work on the circus two circus shows.
Juliette Feld, chief operating officer and Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications, will join Kenneth Feld at the press conference.
Kenneth Feld released a statement Saturday that appears on the company’s website. It reads in part:
“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,” Feld said in the release. “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.
“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.
“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME will conclude its tour at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on May 7, 2017, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Out Of This World will conclude its tour at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21, 2017. We hope you will come to celebrate this American icon for one last time before our tours conclude.”
If no performances are added to the schedule, the last chance for Florida residents to see the circus without leaving the state will be Jan. 25-29 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. There will be one show Wednesday, Jan. 25, and Thursday, Jan. 26, followed by two shows on Friday, Jan. 27, through Sunday, Jan. 29.