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Reference no. 302-057-1
Prize winner
Published by:
INSEAD (2002)
Revision date:
6 pages
Data source:
Field research
Check out the short video trailer for a quick case synopsis.
Cirque du Soleil


This is part of a case series. The first Case (A) discusses the evolution of the circus industry up until the emergence of Cirque du Soleil. This case provides a detailed discussion on the structure of the circus industry to make possible a rich analysis of how its industry attractiveness has changed over time and the challenges the industry now confronts. The case reveals that the industry had become a red ocean with limited profit and growth potential. To achieve this, students are asked to address the following questions: 1) How would they assess the attractiveness of the circus industry in the early 1980s? What would you conclude from your industry analysis? 2) What were the factors the traditional circuses competed on? What made these factors more or less relevant over time? The second case (B), shows how one company, Cirque du Soleil reconstructed the industry to create a blue ocean. It is an excellent and important complement to the first case. A video called 'The Evolution of the Circus Industry' is available for free faculty download (link in ‘Extra information’ section).

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.


Circus and live entertainment industry; Value innovation; Strategy; Blue Ocean Strategy; Creating new market space; Redefining industry boundaries; Competition


The events covered by this item took place in 2001.

Geographical setting

United States; Canada

Featured company

Company name:
Cirque du Soleil
Entertainment; Circus

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