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Event quality and loyalty among runners with different running involvement levels: The case of “The Alexander the Great” International Marathon

Kostantinos Alexandris (Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Nicholas Theodorakis (School of Physical Education and Sports Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Kiki Kaplanidou (Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)
Dimitra Papadimitriou (Department of Business Administration, University of Patras, Patras, Greece)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 9 October 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to investigate if the three service quality dimensions (service environment, interaction and outcome quality), proposed by Brady and Cronin (2001), influence the development of event loyalty, among runners of the “‘Alexander the Great’ International Marathon”, and to test if running loyalty moderates the relationship between event quality and event loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach

In all, 368 runners participated in the study and filled the Sport Event Quality Questionnaire (Theodorakis et al., 2015) and an adjusted version of the Leisure Involvement Questionnaire (Kyle et al., 2010).

Findings

The results indicated that only the service environment and outcome dimensions contributed significantly to the prediction of event loyalty, while, and in contrast to other sport services, interaction quality was not shown to be an important determinant for the development of event loyalty. Furthermore, running involvement was shown to play a moderating role in the relationship between event quality and event loyalty. Service quality is more important for the development of event loyalty among low- than high-involved runners. The theoretical and applied implications of these results are discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The study provided results on how high- and low-involved runners perceive event quality, and for which of these groups the event quality is an important antecedent for the development of event loyalty.

Practical implications

Investigating the moderating role of involvement on the relationship between service quality and loyalty has also applied value. While committed runners have been traditionally seen as a key target group for event marketing professionals, the majority of runners in city marathons today are more leisure oriented. The increase in the number of leisure runners is actually the reason for the rapid growth of city marathons in the last few years. Meeting the needs of these leisure runners and increasing their loyalty levels is therefore a key task for marathon marketers today.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature, as for the first time it explores the moderating role of involvement on the relationship between service quality and loyalty in the context of a sport event.

Keywords

Citation

Alexandris, K., Theodorakis, N., Kaplanidou, K. and Papadimitriou, D. (2017), "Event quality and loyalty among runners with different running involvement levels: The case of “The Alexander the Great” International Marathon", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 292-307. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEFM-08-2016-0057

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited