Leveraging the Cancellation of In-Person Sport Events for Sense of Community: The Case of the Illinois Marathon

Guangzhou Chen, Jon Welty Peachey, Monika Stodolska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study explored how the cancellation of an in-person sport event was leveraged for sense of community (SOC) among event participants and challenges faced by event managers when leveraging event cancellation. We employed document analysis and semistructured interviews with 6 event managers and 14 event participants. Findings showed that despite the cancellation of in-person sport events, event managers were able to develop some new, creative sport or event programs such as virtual race, virtual challenge, and a small-scale in-person race, to build SOC among participants. However, there were also challenges to leveraging event cancellation for SOC such as prioritizing other urgent matters over leveraging the event, and lacking knowledge, experience, and resources. Overall, this study extends the event leverage framework by examining if and how event cancellation can be leveraged, while providing implications for event managers to develop effective leverage strategies in the face of event cancellations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-57
Number of pages17
JournalEvent Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • Community sport events
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Event cancellation
  • Event leveraging
  • Sense of community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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