The spatial and temporal nature of event experiences was studied through interviews, participant observation and photography at a major sporting event. Results contribute to a better understanding of how visitors interact with the event setting and with each other, and help build theory
on experiences, their design and management. Event tourists were observed spatially and temporally while enjoying various elements of the host village and four event arenas, while photographs and notes made by participant observers enabled a more focused evaluation of positive and negative
experiences. Results identified the importance of social factors, as visitors wanted to be where the others were, revealed that surprise created positive experiences, and identified the existence of experiential “hot spots” defined in both time and space. It is concluded that positive
experiences are more important than negative ones in terms of overall satisfaction. Implications are drawn regarding the nature of event experiences, their design and management, and on related methodological development.