Understanding the different experiences between local and non-local participants may help event organizers implement diverse marketing strategies for each segment, which could efficiently improve participants’ experiences of the event. However, little research has compared the experiences between local and non-local participants in sport event settings. This study compares the differences between local and non-local participants in their perceived service quality of a triathlon event, examines the relationships among service quality, satisfaction, and behavioral intention, and explores the role of participants’ residence status in these relationships. Data were collected from participants (N = 289) in a triathlon event held in Japan. The results indicate that local participants evaluated all service quality dimensions more positively than non-local participants. The course, ambience, achievement, and escape had positive effects on satisfaction, satisfaction had an extensively positive effect on behavioral intention, and the effect of escape on satisfaction differed between local and non-local participants. Our findings identify how local and non-local participants evaluate their event experiences differently and provide practical implications for event organizers.
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