Inspiring participation in track cycling: Exploring the role of spectators’ characteristics and event experiences

Georgia Teare, Luke R. Potwarka, Ryan R. Snelgrove, David Drewery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study addresses a fundamental question underpinning demonstration effects: Can watching elite sport events inspire spectators to actively participate themselves? Our purpose was to identify intrapersonal and experiential mechanisms that might help explain a demonstration effect, particularly in the context of an international track cycling event. Spectators of the 2015 Pan American Games track cycling competitions (N = 326) were screened to ensure they had never participated in the sport. Participants were then administered a survey assessing preevent engagement, positive affect, trait inspiration, state inspiration, and intention to participate in track cycling after watching the competition. Data were examined using structural equation modeling. Preevent engagement and state inspiration were found to have significant and direct influences on postevent participation intention. Positive affect was found to have no direct significant influence on participation intention. State inspiration significantly mediated relationships between preevent engagement, positive affect, trait inspiration, and participation intention. Our study suggests previous knowledge of the sport, spectators' personalities, and spectator experiences that evoke intense feelings of being inspired while immersed in the event are salient mechanisms involved in decisions to try a new sport on display. To leverage potential demonstration effects, we suggest sport managers engage ticket holders in advance of novel sport events to increase knowledge about the sport, and present postevent program information during an event to capitalize on heightened states of inspiration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-244
Number of pages18
JournalEvent Management
Issue number3
Early online date31 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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