Help improve the race that stops a nation

What would it take to stop a Victorian attending the race that stops a nation? To what lengths would people go to ensure they don’t miss Australia’s most popular sporting event?

Griffith University PhD student Amanda Ayling is asking these unusual questions and is calling on the community to help.

Ms Ayling of the Gold Coast, is investigating what motivates people to attend or not attend the biggest event on Australia’s sporting calendar — the Melbourne Cup — and she needs to hear from Victorians who attended the landmark event last year.

Ms Ayling said her research is studying the links between the types of barriers people encounter and what they use to overcome these barriers to attend the event.

“I’m looking at the barriers people face, their level of motivation towards attending the Melbourne Cup, their venue preference, and the strategies and resources they use to overcome barriers,” Ms Ayling said.

Ms Ayling has already received enough feedback from people who attended substitution events, such as celebrations or viewing parties held away from the Flemington Racecourse, but needs to hear from 150 — 200 Victorians who attended the actual main event in 2006.

Ms Ayling said those who participate in her research work will help create better Melbourne Cup events in the future.

“There has been little research into this kind of major sporting event investigating the impact of constraints or barriers on attendance and non-attendance,” Ms Ayling said.

“Neither has there been research which explored the potential negotiation tactics that people use to overcome the impact of constraints on participation, and little research has been conducted into the existence of substitution events.”

Research results will be made available to event organisers and destination marketing organisations to provide a greater understanding into how attendees and those who choose not to attend arrive at their decisions.

“This will ultimately benefit the consumer in terms of designing events to meet their wants and overcome the barriers they may face in attending,” Ms Ayling said.

People interested in participating in the research can complete an online survey at which will take 15 minutes to complete.