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The scheduled sporting calendar

James Howard | 17:33 UK time, Thursday, 13 August 2009

Back in March when we relaunched the F1 section of the sport site we ran a small trial around making the broadcast data available for people to download into their online calendars.

We had many positive feedback emails around this - people were planning their weekends around the F1 coverage - and so I did a little digging around to see what other people were up to around the BBC.

Tom Scott and Duncan Robertson wrote about the work that they did over a year ago on schedules. Duncan wrote on the radio labs blog:

"iCalendar is a standard for calendar data exchange. It is most notably used by Apple's iCal application, Microsoft's Outlook and Google Calendar, to import and export calendar information."

The one that caught my eye though was the athletics schedule that has been created - ideal with the world athletics just round the corner.

http://bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/athletics/schedules/upcoming.ics

As Duncan suggested in his post, I had a play around with the URLs to see what I could get specifically for sport.

This is what I managed to get for football:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/football/schedules/upcoming.ics

Be warned, this is all football on the BBC, TV and radio. It's a lot.

Then (with some advice from my colleague Alex) managed to break the feed down by platform:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/tv/genres/sport/football/schedules/upcoming.ics

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/radio/genres/sport/football/schedules/upcoming.ics

which is a lot more manageable

Here are few others I found:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/cricket/schedules/upcoming.ics
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/golf/schedules/upcoming.ics
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/rugbyleague/schedules/upcoming.ics
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/rugbyunion/schedules/upcoming.ics
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/formulaone/schedules/upcoming.ics
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/genres/sport/motorsport/schedules/upcoming.ics

I subscribed (don't use import!) to these feeds using the 'add by URL' function in Google calender

Other calendars are available! Not every format or bowser is suported at the moment but please feel free to have a play.

calendar.gif

BBC schedules are published up to 7 days in advance so these don't show the whole football or F1 season. And it is TV and radio information. No additional red button or online only broadcasts.

The version we did for the F1 site has all the races and sessions that were being broadcast in for the season, which judging by the feedback, was what people wanted.

Let me know if you find this a useful feature. We already have feeds of programme and iplayer information on the sport site but having the broadcast information updated into an online version - and then maybe onto your mobile - seems like a good way to help avoid clashes with other commitments. Like holidays or work.

Major events like the Winter Olympics and the World Cup are ideal opportunities, although maybe the information being available a bit further in advance would be useful.

This is BBC broadcast data and not fixture data - I have already had requests in the office for full 6 nations fixtures and individual files for every football club. Not to mention motoGP and all major golf tournaments.

Maybe next season.

James Howard
Executive Product Manager, Sport

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