How Pre-Event Engagement and Event Type Are Associated with Spectators’ Cognitive Processing at Two Swimming Events

Inge Derom*, Marijke Taks, Luke R. Potwarka, Ryan R. Snelgrove, Laura Wood, Georgia Teare

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Little is known about event experiences of spectators attending non-mainstream sports, let alone different types of events within the same sport. Past research has demonstrated that pre-event engagement influences event experiences. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the ways in which pre-event engagement and event type were associated with spectators’ event experiences at two different types of swimming events. Surveys were collected from 90 spectators attending the 2016 National Swimming Championships (NSC) in Belgium, and from 246 spectators attending the 2016 World Swimming Championships (WSC) in Canada. Pre-event engagement included behavioral measures, as well as cognitive and affective measures. Event experiences were measured with Madrigal’s (2006) FANDIM scale. A series of regression analyses were used to explore if and how spectators’ pre-event engagement and event type were associated with their event experiences, while controlling for socio-demographic variables. Knowledge of and interest in the sport, as well as awareness of opportunities to participate were associated with aesthetics, evaluation, and flow. Pre-event engagement in terms of prior spectating and active participation were not associated with event experiences. The type of event matters and the WSC generated more engaged event experiences (i.e., aesthetics and fantasy). To improve event experiences at non-mainstream events, managers should seek to implement initiatives to increase interest among potential spectators, including those with little or no behavioral engagement with the sport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Global Sport Management
Early online date2 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2023

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