The phrase "Greatest Show on Earth" has been used by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for a century. Although the circus' owner, Feld Entertainment, ended its iconic circus shows in New York last May, the company earned more than $50 million a year over the last five years for merchandise sold using the "Greatest Show on Earth" trademark.
Reuters reports the phrase has been licensed to several companies, including Chick-Fil-A and Metro PCS, "… but Kid Rock is not one of them," according to Feld Entertainment. Yet, singer Kid Rock's "Greatest Show on Earth" tour is scheduled to begin on December 31 and now he and Live Nation are facing a trademark infringement lawsuit from Feld Entertainment for unauthorized use of the circus' slogan.
Feld's Chairman and CEO said in a statement: "This historic trademark has been an important part of Ringling Bros. for the past century, and it is recognized as a trusted and iconic brand of family-friendly entertainment. The Greatest Show On Earth continues to live on and will do so well into the future. We have no intention of surrendering the trademark or allowing it to be tarnished."
The lawsuit seeks to prohibit Kid Rock's use of the phrase, any profits made from merchandise using it, and unspecified damages.
As of this writing, Kid Rock's Facebook page and website are still promoting the "Greatest Show on Earth Tour 2018."
Update, January 23, 2018: The New York Post reports that while Kid Rock has changed the name of his tour to “The American Rock N Roll Tour,” a judge recently denied a preliminary injunction against him, ruling that Feld Entertainment had failed to show how his tour would ruin the “Greatest Show on Earth” name. The suit remains pending.