Business Overview

A circus is an assorted mixture of performers who put on various acts to entertain and stun a crowd. It may include anything from acrobats to trapeze artists to trained animals that perform dramatic routines and stunts. Circuses may be mobile and move from location to location, or they may choose to set up residence in one particular spot for a given period of time.

Who is this business right for?

Those in the circus should be able to handle a lot of stress in a short amount of time. It takes a lot of coordination to handle the schedule of each act and there’s a lot of pressure to hire people who are charismatic enough to put on a show without crumbling under the weight of the multiple performances. Owners also need to be inherently creative to conceive of performances that will satisfy a modern audience.

What happens during a typical day at a circus business?

Most circuses will spend a lot of time preparing their acts, spending the majority of the day practicing, honing, and perfecting their craft. There will also be people dedicated to deciding how to market the circus and where to take the show next.

What is the target market?

For many years, a circus was primarily meant for families who had enough means to spend money for a day of fun. However, endeavors like Cirque du Soleil have introduced more adult-themed content into the market. Now, clubs hire small circus troupes to perform for their patrons and parents hire acrobats to perform for their children's birthday parties. So the business model is fluid enough to alter the demographic based on who is most likely to consume the services.

How does a circus business make money?

A circus charges people per ticket or per show based on everything from employee salaries to the cost of the venue. The idea is to ensure the ticket price can account for unplanned dips in the budget or underperforming locations or time periods.

What is the growth potential for a circus business?

With the ubiquity of filmed content available for families looking to blow off steam, circuses have steadily declined in popularity. The bankruptcies of famous shows that were once money-making machines suggest that circuses are going the way of vaudeville. However, there has been a growing movement of smaller circuses with modern twists that are really starting to take off. These new types of circuses have the potential to become the standard rather than the exception due to their growing popularity.