Feld Entertainment enters the new year with big show plans | Business Observer
As 2022 draws to a close and the pandemic recedes further into the rearview mirror, Feld Entertainment executives have plenty to smile about. It comes from characters as diverse as acrobats and intersecting motorcyclists.
Both are key parts of Manatee County-based Feld’s ongoing post-COVID strategy to continue doing what it does best: hosting shows and performances around the world, in everything from Disney on Ice at Marvel Universe Live. A pair of 2023 events – “The Greatest Show on Earth”, featuring stunt performers and more, and the SuperMotocross World Championship Tour – are good illustrations of the company’s must-have show mentality.
“The Greatest Show” is produced under a Ringling Bros. brand. and Barnum & Bailey revamped and rebooted. Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling brand, announced in May that the show would return in 2023 – minus the word circus. The original show, under the name “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus”, ran for 146 years, until 2017. Feld Entertainment retired the elephants from the show in 2016, and company officials said more later that a decline in ticket sales without elephants was more significant. provided that. This led to the eventual shutdown.
The Ringling franchise includes consumer and licensing products, including toys, games, packaged goods, collectibles and more, according to Feld officials. Theme park attractions and traveling exhibits are also in the works. And, “to further immerse fans in the world of Ringling, a documentary is also being produced that will take audiences behind the scenes to meet the cast and crew and learn what it takes to be a part of” The Greatest Show On Earth,” the company said in a statement.
“Ringling Bros. holds such a special place in people’s hearts,” Juliette Feld Grossman, Feld’s chief operating officer, said in an interview in early December. “It’s iconic entertainment. It’s so exciting that we’re bringing it back.
“The Greatest Show” will begin rehearsals in June, company officials say, with most of that work taking place in secret inside the company’s sprawling campus in Palmetto, Manatee County. The US tour will officially kick off in September and will visit more than 50 cities across North America. Tickets are expected to go on sale in April.
The SuperMotocross World Championship Tour is another big Feld-led project underway. The tour was introduced in October at a press event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where officials released two big news items. One, Feld Grossman says, is that NBC/Peacock signed a five-year media rights deal for the tour. The second nugget of news: The prize money will be $10 million – the biggest in the sport. “This is an exciting and historic decision for the company,” said Feld Grossman.
The 31-race tour, a partnership between Feld Motor Sports and MX Sports Pro Racing, combines the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and the AMA Pro Motocross Championship, according to a statement. The tour will use what Feld executives call the “world’s toughest tracks, designed to test athletes both physically and mentally.”
“It’s been two and a half years,” Feld Entertainment president and CEO Ken Feld said in the statement. “Feld Motor Sports and MX Sports Pro Racing initially came together to preserve the 2020 racing season during the pandemic and quickly realized we were stronger together. We asked ourselves: ‘How can we improve the sport?’ And from there was born the concept of the SuperMotocross World Championship. We are committed to preserving the history of each respective championship and will continue to crown individual champions for both disciplines, but now we will come together to crown an ultimate champion.
While SuperMotocross and “The Greatest Show” have great potential, not everything is looking like cotton candy for Feld executives. The live entertainment industry and business are going through tough times. For one thing, supply chain delays have impacted the international side of the business, Feld Grossman says, pushing equipment and equipment arrival times from weeks to months. “There’s a lot more uncertainty in the international market right now,” she says.
Another challenge? In times of economic downturn, the hunt for customers can become more acute. This is something the company is watching closely. “We always think of the customer, and our customer is a family customer,” says Feld Grossman. “And this family client is currently under severe financial pressure.”