What does a sports broadcaster show when there’s no sport?
Bayliss, however, wouldn’t be drawn on the possibility of the A-League landing at the telco.
“I guess the bottom line at the moment is that the A-League is under contract with another broadcaster for three years and, as such, it’s not our property,” he said.
“We’re just dealing with this current issue at the moment with COVID-19 and what that means for our current rights.
“As a football person myself, and my team, we all love the game and love sport. Sure, we’d love to acquire more sport moving forward but, to be honest, it’s probably so far down the priority list at the moment given where everything else is at the moment in the broadcast realm.
“I can’t see anything happening on that front soon.”
Nonetheless, while the A-League might not be coming to an Optus screen near you in the near future, there has been some toe-dipping into the domestic landscape by the broadcaster.
Recent months have seen the launch of specials such as “Where It Began” and “Football Belongs,” shining a spotlight on the origins of some of Australia’s most celebrated footballers and the traditional communities and clubs that built Australian football following WW2.
The first episode of Football Belongs, featuring traditional Melbourne powers Preston Lions, was released on March 11, with a follow-up episode on the Turkish community arriving on March 25.
"We've always been taught to be proud of who we are... We're definitely patriotic. We're definitely fanatical." 🇹🇷❤️— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) March 25, 2020
Football Belongs returns with Episode 2, and the Turkish community ⚽#FootballBelongs #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/J0Uf9rTqk9
“It’s been great,” Bayliss said on the series reception.
“We’ve been cooking up those stories for a little while and once we released the trailer, it was really heart-warming to see the positive response to those stories being told.
“I guess the effect of the coronavirus shutdown and the move away from live sport has changed our publishing strategy a little bit with that. We’re actually now publishing one feature every two weeks and we’re going to split the series in half, with the second half being released next year.
“The documentary is also now being pushed back to next year. Just to better reflect and give us a better opportunity to finish it off. We can’t go out and finish the shoots or even do the final interviews and final edits are harder to do now given the situation with working from home.
“We thought we’d take a slightly more measured approach and build-up to Euro 2021 by publishing the majority of the series just before the tournament next year.
“One of the main reasons we created Football Belongs was just to engage and connect with communities that we haven’t done so with before.
“Take Italy for example, they weren’t in the last world cup. Italian supporters generally have not had a great or compelling reason to connect with Optus Sport yet but they will when it comes to the Euros and this was a great opportunity to go out on the ground and actually connect with them.
“Meet with those communities, talk to them, tell them what we’re about and tell their stories .”