WASHINGTON // Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be hosting its final show in May, ending The Greatest Show on Earth after 146 years.
In their announcement on Saturday, company executives cited high operating costs and declining ticket sales after the travelling American circus retired its popular elephants as reasons for drawing the curtain. The celebrated spectacle traces its origins to politician and showman PT Barnum’s first show in 1871.
Animal rights groups cheered the move as a success story following decades of activism against the use of animals in the circus.
Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of show producer Feld entertainment, said he and his family came to the “difficult” decision to end the circus “after much evaluation and deliberation”.
“Nearly 50 years ago, my father founded our company with the acquisition of Ringling Bros,” he said on the group’s website.
“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 group has a total of 30 stops scheduled on its 2017 tour.
The final Circus XTREME show will take place in Providence, Rhode Island on May 7, while the group's Out Of This World tour will take place on May 21 in Uniondale, New York.
* Agence France-Presse