Social media networks as drivers for intellectual capital disclosure: Evidence from professional football clubs

Alessandra Lardo*, John Dumay, Raffaele Trequattrini, Giuseppe Russo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between popularity in a social media network and a company’s revenue, expenditure and market value. Additionally, social media networks are analysed as tools for both voluntary and involuntary intellectual capital (IC) disclosure. Design/methodology/approach: These aims are analysed in the context of the football industry. An empirical analysis evaluates the correlations between team and player social media metrics from Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and their football club’s market value, revenue and player transfer fees. Examples of timely IC disclosure are also reported. Findings: The results indicate that popularity metrics in social media are determinants of the value of human and relational capital in professional football clubs. Popularity in social media positively correlates to market capitalisation, revenue and player transfer fees. Additionally, examples are provided to show how social media can be a tool for disclosing IC information in a relevant and timely manner. Practical implications: From a strategic management perspective, the authors find that there are economic opportunities to be gained from managing social media platforms appropriately and that knowledge derived from social media needs to be used effectively by club managers, so that fans and followers can be transformed into consumers. One practical implication of this research is the need to hire social media experts that are able to develop, coordinate and manage digital communication strategies. Originality/value: This paper presents an analysis of emerging changes in technology and communication platforms and different types of disclosure. It aims to demonstrate that the metrics derived from social media can be used as tool to disclose voluntary and involuntary information about IC – information that is particularly useful to investors because their shortage of tangible assets can make football clubs difficult to evaluate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-80
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Intellectual Capital
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Football clubs
  • Intellectual capital disclosure
  • Involuntary disclosure
  • Social media
  • Social media metrics
  • Voluntary disclosure


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