Image dimensions of two Scandinavian endurance winter sport events
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This study investigates event images of two Scandinavian endurance skiing events. It adds to the relatively limited literature on endurance sport event images and provides a better understanding of how participants perceive images of the cross country ski events Birkebeinerrennet and Vasaloppet, and to what extent the images are similar and different. A qualitative comparative case-study design was applied. The interview guide consisted of open-ended semi-structured questions, and 52 participants in Birkebeinerrennet and Vasaloppet were interviewed during March 2017. A ‘sport endurance event image’ can be composed of at least ten dimensions and Associated aspects: ‘Organizational’, ‘Environmental’, ‘Emotional’, ‘Social’, ‘Historical’, ‘Physical’, ‘Competition’, ‘Cultural’, ‘Equipment’ and ‘Destination’. The findings confirm and expand earlier identified dimensions of sport event images by identifying two New dimensions (‘Equipment’ and ‘Destination’). The image of Birkebeinerrennet was more aligned with the destination than Vasaloppet, while the overall stronger and more versatile image of Vasaloppet makes it less vulnerable to loss of interest from narrow segments of participants. We offer insights about how participants perceive the race images, how two rather similar events also differ in their images, and how this can contribute to a better understanding of differences in popularity. The findings can help organisers work towards images that attract desirable visitors and participants. Future research should follow up these findings through quantitative investigations across different types of longdistance, endurance sport events taking place in different environments, seasons and regions.