Lipizzaners Cancel Remainder of Season

12 May

The Lipizzaner Stallions have canceled most of the shows for the remainder of 2010 and plan to take the next six months off following slow ticket sales and a challenging advertising market.

“We’ve taken the show off-tour for the balance of this year, primarily because business is very, very poor and we wanted to give our horses a rest,” said promoter Gary Lashinsky from his offices in Oviedo, Fla.

Also affected was the Spanish Riding School, which Lashinsky helps to promote. That tour was postponed until 2011 because the horses, which are held in Vienna, Austria, have come down with a contagious respiratory illness.

“We were scheduled to kick off that show, but since it’s so far out and we didn’t have a contract yet, we were able to release the hold and book two acts,” said Carl Hall from Rupp Arena in Lexington, ky.

Lashinsky wouldn’t say how much the White Stallions tour lost so far, but noted that in general, ticket sales were dismal.

“In some of the markets, we either broke even with the previous times or were down 15 to 20 percent. That 15 to 20 percent was the difference between making money or losing money. You’re on a tight margin with this show — with any family show, in fact.”

In some cases, Lashinsky thinks his show was a victim of bad timing, especially an early April date at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

“We had a few bombs,” he said. “We were playing Indianapolis the weekend after the Final Four and Butler was in (the Championship Round). I talked to the building and I said ‘What do you think, should we cancel the date?’ And they said it would be fine and if Butler loses everybody would be back to normal. They weren’t,” he said.

The tour’s last show was April 19 at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C. Approximately 120 shows were canceled, including a run through Canada.

Lashinsky also cited upcoming mid-term elections, saying the campaign cycle drove up the price of media buys, while contributing to consumer uncertainty about the future.

The Lipizzaner Stallions will return Dec. 26 with a performance at the new Amway Arena in Orlando.

“That’s in addition to the Spanish Riding School,” said Lashinsky, speaking of the tour his group has assisted for several outings in the US. “We’re talking with them now about rescheduling their tour for 2011 in the fall. They’ve got the same economic problems, except maybe worse than we do, in Europe.”

“Remember, we’re talking about a family audience, an adult audience, our ticket prices for the Spanish riding school run from $45 for a low ticket price up to $175,” he added. “That’s a pretty high ticket price to be bucking when you have a poor economy and a lot of other things that hurt business.” — Dave Brooks

Contact: Gary Lashinsky, (407) 366-0366; Carl Hall, (859) 233-4567

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