The Big Apple Circus is up for sale.
The one-ring circus filed for bankruptcy in November and is now putting its assets up for auction. Buyers can put in bids by a February 3 deadline.
The court-ordered auction is expected to be held February 7.
The circus said its debts amounted to $8.3million, against assets of $3.8million, in its Chapter 11 filing.
The company conducting the auction is selling the assets in bulk lots. For example, the big top tents are in one lot.
The one-ring Big Apple Circus filed for bankruptcy in November and is now putting its assets up for auction
The Big Apple Circus began in 1977 and at its height staged more than 300 shows.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus recently announced it was closing after 146 years, citing falling ticket sales, high operating costs and changing public tastes in entertainment.
‘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,’ Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the Florida-based producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, said on the circus’ website.
In May of last year, the circus retired its elephant act, years after a suit by activists.
It admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to a six-figure fine several years before ending the elephant performances.
The circus said its debts amounted to $8.3million, against assets of $3.8million, in its Chapter 11 filing
The Big Apple Circus began in 1977 and at its height staged more than 300 shows
In his statement on Saturday, Feld noted that declining sales had fallen off even more dramatically following what he called ‘the transition of the elephants off the road.’
Animal rights group PETA said it ‘heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times.’
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk also said in its statement that 36 years of PETA protests had ‘awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity.’
Activists often appeared outside venues with fliers, protesting against the use of elephants, and pictures of animals they said were abused.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus recently announced it was closing after 146 years
The circus (some of whose clowns are seen above posing for a portrait in 1990) citing falling ticket sales, high operating costs and changing public tastes in entertainment
After Feld Entertainment sued, claiming malicious prosecution, more than a dozen animal welfare groups agreed in 2012 and 2014 to pay settlements totaling about $25million to end 14 years of litigation.
The circus went by the slogan ‘The greatest show on earth,’ a catchphrase that was so ubiquitous it was employed for the title of the 1952 Cecil B. DeMille best picture Oscar-winning film starring Charlton Heston and Betty Hutton.
In May of last year, the circus retired its elephant act, years after a suit by animal rights activists. Protesters gather for a demonstration against Ringling Bros. in Los Angeles in 2011
The circus will end it long run with performances in Providence, RI, on May 7, 2017, and in Uniondale, NY, on May 21.
Other Feld productions, including Marvel Universe LIVE!, Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!, will continue, and the company said it will continue to develop new shows.
Employees were told of the decision to close down following performances on Saturday in Florida.