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Animal Circuses More Popular than Rugby and Ballet

Animal Circuses More Popular than Rugby and Ballet
July 8, 2009

Traditional circuses in Australia attract approximately 1.3 million paid visits a year, a larger numbers of paying patrons than opera and rugby union, according to statistics released by the Circus Federation of Australia Inc (CFA).

As CFA Executive Secretary John Le Mare explained in an exclusive interview with Australasian Leisure Management, "the classical or traditional circus, by which we mean those dozen or so professional circuses that travel around Australia with animals as part of their program and provide uncensored family entertainment, is very proud of its growing audience.

"There is also a buoyant contemporary circus industry such as Circus Oz & Flying Fruit Fly, which we greatly admire. However they play to much smaller audiences and thus need quite a bit of public subsidy."

Le Mare highlights that traditional circuses "are proud that we receive no Government subsidy or grant and thus rely entirely on box office receipts to support our business enterprises."

Speaking of the independence of traditional circuses, Le Mare adds, "when I contact Members of State and Federal Parliaments they say they have never heard of us, and I deduce this is because we do not receive any Government grant or subsidy - nor do we seek any."

The CFA recently released its analysis of annual paid attendance statistics for entertainment and sport Australia, which show the popularity of traditional circuses.

Visits - Numbers - Authority

Cinema - 83.6 million (2007) - The Australian Business Media & Marketing
Zoos & aquariums - 10.5 million - Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks & Aquaria
AFL - 6.5 million - Australian Football League (AFL)
Pop music concerts - 4.0 million (2005/2006) - Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Art Galleries - 3.6 million (2005/2006) - ABS
Museums - 3.6 million (2005/2006) - ABS
Theatre - 2.7 million (2005/2006) - ABS
Ballet & dance - 1.6 million (2005/2006) - ABS
Cricket - 1.7 million (includes 0.4 million domestic matches) - Cricket Australia.
Classical music - 1.5 million (2005/2006) - ABS
Art/music festivals - 1.5 million (2002/2003) - ABS
Classical circus with animals - 1.3 million (2006) - Circus Federation of Australia Inc
Rugby Union - 0.9 million (2006) - Australia Rugby Union 2006 Annual Report- Marketing.
Opera - 0.4 million (2005/2006) - ABS

Le Mare is also a Director of, and Secretary to, the Federation Mondiale du Cirque (World Circus Federation which is based in Monte Carlo but operated from Brussels.

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