APL snaps up Optus Sport’s Richard Bayliss as director of content

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has appointed Optus Sport’s Richard Bayliss as its first director of content.

Bayliss joins the APL, which operates the top tier of men’s and women’s domestic, and youth football in Australia following five years at Optus, where he was director of sport and lead presenter.

Bayliss said on his appointment: “When I reflect on what the game has meant to me from a young age, it’s both an honour and a dream come true to be part of the team tasked with transforming football in Australia. APL has an ambitious vision to finally fulfil the game’s potential and creating innovative content to connect with and represent fans is a vital part of that.”

Richard Bayliss

In the new role, Bayliss will be leading the APL’s new content arm to create a digital content offering that goes “beyond a traditional website”, according to an APL spokesperson, with additional video and social content, it looks to foster a compelling home for football coverage in Australia.

The APL also said through its digital content it aims to champion the “best of the A-League and W-League but also delivering multi-platform stories and news about football from all corners of the globe”.

During his stint at Optus Sport, Bayliss has played a key role in overseeing and presenting the telco’s coverage of the English Premier League, FA Women’s Super League, both men’s and women’s World Cups, UEFA Champions League and Europa League, as well as Euro 2020 over June and July this year. He was also central in the production of the docu-series, Football Belongs.

Danny Townsend, managing director of the APL, said that delivering a world-class content offering will be central to how APL is investing to grow the game on Australian soil, both in its own content and through the partnership with ViacomCBS.

ViacomCBS secured the rights to broadcast Australian domestic football in May

“Richard will be vital in driving that strategy forward to bring football into every Australian home.”

APL chief commercial officer, Ant Hearne, added: “As someone who has been at the forefront of the development of football content in Australia in recent years, Richard brings an incredible depth of knowledge and passion for the game. Fans are at the centre of everything we do, and we
want to bring them closer to the game than ever before.”

While the role is not part of ViacomCBS’ new five-year broadcast deal with the APL, to broadcast both the A-League and W-League, it will work with the broadcaster in creating content. The 2021/22 A-League season is set to commence on 30 October. 

An Optus Sports spokesperson thanked Bayliss for his services.

“Richard has been the face of Optus Sport since its inception in 2016, leading the production and editorial direction as both Director of Sport and presenter, so it’s disappointing he is finishing up at Optus Sport.”

“With the Premier League and WSL on the short-term radar, and the Women’s Euro 2022 and Women’s World Cup 2023 longer-term, Optus will commence the process to fill the director of sport role.  We are incredibly excited and focused as we commence our sixth season of the Premier League. Richard leaves a highly capable team in place, which is testament to his stewardship over the years.”

Bayliss spent six years at Fox Sports prior to joining Optus Sport, working as a reporter and presenter covering the A-League.

Bayliss continued: “Australian football is crafted from the most captivating stories and personalities, and fans can trust us to deliver those stories like never before. We’re less than three months out from the start of the season and I can’t wait to get started.”

Last week Optus sport revealed that its customers will be able to access a selection of football articles and videos produced by subscription-based sports network The Athletic thanks to a new partnership between the two businesses.



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