South End Zone


iCalendar Schedules Help

IMPORTANT: It is beyond the scope of this resource to show you how to subscribe to iCalendar feeds. You should already have a familiarity with the process. Also, do not confuse the name of the iCalendar file format with the name of Apple's Calendar app, formerly called iCal.

That said, here are some tips that may help you get the best out of my calendar data.

1) Time zone handling
The raw data in these data files specifies the US Central time zone for every game. If your calendar application properly handles time zones, and if the time zone is set properly on your computer, then the game times will be automatically adjusted to reflect your home time zone.
2) Time zone problems
Not all calendar applications handle time zones the same way, and some, quite frankly, just do it wrong (especially Apple products). If you're in this situation, it probably means that the schedules are appearing in your calendar correctly, except that the game times are off an hour or two. Instead of just sitting here pointing fingers, I built in a small feature to help out. You can now force my web site to adjust the game time by as many hours as you want. Here's how:

Here's an example of a standard ICS link:

Here's the same schedule, with with one hour added to each game time:

Here's the same schedule, with with two hours subtracted from each game time:

I think you get the idea. Just add or subtract however many hours you need (up to 24). Just know that when you do this, the actual data is technically wrong, as it's still in the central time zone (where SEZ hails from). And if you happen to upgrade your calendar and it starts to handle time zones correctly, then your game times may be wrong again. But I figure that if it makes the game times show up correctly in your calendar for now, then great.
3) Incorrect data or data not updating
If you notice some basic incorrect data (i.e. wrong score) in the calendar, please let me know. I've been known to make a mistake or two over the decades.

But if it seems that your calendar just isn't updating, perhaps this information can help.

Look at the SEZ update event on your calendar. It appears on your calendar on the last date your calendar retreived data from my site. You'll see two date/time stamps in there:
  • 'data updated' is the last time I actually updated my data (scores, etc)
  • 'calendar loaded' is the last time your calendar program requested the data from my server
Understanding the above two items can be a big help when troubleshooting. For example, I add the final scores to every game (usually on Sunday nights). But if you notice that scores are not updating, check the "calendar loaded" time to see when it was last loaded. Most calendar apps will load the data at least every couple of days. If it's been a while since yours loaded, check with your calendar app's help info.

Be sure to also see my suggestions on this page about importing versus subscribing.
4) What about next season?
My plan is to maintain these schedules indefinitely into the future. My program is setup to always show the current season. So when next season's schedule is announced, it'll just automatically appear on your calendar. No need to re-subscribe.
5) webcal protocol in Apple Calendar
If you're using the Apple Calendar program (formerly iCal) on a Mac, when you subscribe, it may simply download the feed and do a one-time import. If you want a true dynamic subscription, some Mac users have had success by changing the "http" in the URL to "webcal", like this:

6) Label the games
If you'd like to add a label to the beginning of each event on your calendar, so that your events would appear like this:

     NFL: Arizona at Green Bay

instead of just this:

     Arizona at Green Bay

you can add your own label to the URL like this:

That's the lower case letter "l" (for label), followed by a colon, followed by the label you want (12 characters max). I used "NFL: " in this example, but you could make it anything so that the games stand out on your calendar. If you want a space in the label, just use the plus sign (+). If you'd like the week number in the label, just use a dollar sign ($), like this:$:+/packers.ics

Many thanks to Merv Priestley, an SEZ fan in New Zealand, for asking for this feature on the South End Zone Facebook page on Aug 13, 2011. I really do listen to your feedback!
7) Importing vs Subscribing
There are two ways you can implement my calendars: import or subscribe. Most people will want to subscribe. Be sure to understand the differences before you proceed.

When you import a schedule into your calendar, it pulls all events from my site and puts them directly into your calendar along with any other events you already have. Once imported, there is no more interaction with the ICS file or my web site. You can then edit any of the imported events to add your own notes, change dates/times, etc. You can even delete certain events if you want, just like any other event in your calendar. In most calendars, there is no single action available to undo an import. If you later change your mind, you'll have to individually delete each event that you imported.

When you subscribe to a schedule, you enter the URL of the ICS file into your calendar application, which then reads the file from SEZ and shows all events in your calendar. In many applications (i.e. Google Calendar), it simply creates a new calendar. It then periodically re-reads the same URL and updates your calendar accordingly with any changes. It is expected that the schedule data may change in some way, which is indeed the case with my schedules. Game times may change, and each game is updated with scores after it's played. The most obvious change is that toward the end of the season, additional games are added to the schedules as the playoffs unfold. All of these changes will happen automatically in your calendar. Since the source of the data is my schedule data, you are not able to edit these events in your calendar. If you're not sure which method to use, I recommend subscribing. That's what I do (I use Google Calendar). I like it because I subscribe once, and I never touch the calendar again. Games just show up on my calendar automatically, changes and scores appear automatically, year after year. And I can remove a calendar with a click. For me, it's easiest.

Check your calendar application's documentation to see what methods are supported. For example, the schedule of automatic updates to ICS subscriptions may vary; some programs may even require that you manually click a button to cause the update to happen.
8) How to unsubscribe
I get this question on occasion: how do I unsubscribe from the calendar events? And I usually can't answer it, because unsubscribing is a function of your calendar, not my data.

It's important to first understand that SEZ does not put events on your calendar. This is not how iCal works. Events get on your calendar only when you subscribe (or import). You're in complete control over the subscription (which of course is a good thing). So if you've subscribed and you no longer want to see the events on your calendar, just unsubscribe.

If you're having troubles figuring out how to unsubscribe, it may be because you actually imported my calendar instead of subscribing to it (see explanation in #7 above). If you imported the data, there is no calendar to unsubscribe from. Each game is now an individual event on your calendar. The only way to remove them is to delete each one individually, just like you normally remove an event from your calendar.

That said, here is some info I found about how to unsubscribe from calendars: If you have a link that you think other users may find useful, please let me know.
9) "SEZ Update" event
Each calendar includes an event named "SEZ Update". Here's the story on how that came to be.

The first thing to know is that I update the calendars often during the season. If you watch your calendar, you'll notice that past games include the score. You'll also notice that as the playoffs unfold, I add those games as well. Suffice it to say that the events that appear on your calendar are very dynamic. You don't have to do anything to make this happen. It works this way because of two things: I update the data throughout the season and your calendar periodically gets the latest version of the schedule from my site.

Every season, I started to receive many requests for help with calendar subscriptions. Many. Unfortunately, I can't help with the significant majority of these requests, because the whole setup depends heavily on the functionality of your calendar program and your knowledge of how it works. There's really nothing I can do on my end to resolve issues with your calendar.

But I wanted to help as much as I could. So I added info to the description of each game on the calendar, which included:
  • date/time of the last time I updated the data
  • date/time of the last time your calendar retrieved data from SEZ
It's that second piece of data that always proved to be most helpful for users. During a season, some users would notice that their calendar never updated. So I'd have them check the description of any event to find that date/time. And if their calendar program stopped getting updates, then that's the problem. Certainly nothing that I can control, but at least knowing the exact date/time that your calendar last updated is very helpful.

Now, to be fair, many users never had problems with the calendars and never had to look at those dates. But trust me, they have proven to be helpful.

So, let's say you subscribe to your team's schedule. 16 games. 16 events on your calendar. Well, each time your calendar upates, obviously all 16 of those games are changed, simply because the description of each event includes an updated date/time stamp. This doesn't play well with calendar programs that like to upate you each time an event changes.

So, for the 2019 season, I decided to remove those date/time stamps from every event, and instead include a single event that indicates when your calendar program last upated its data. This single event also includes in its description the IP address and hostname of the device/server that is requesting the data from my site (additional info that is very helpful when troubleshooting).

If you haven't yet looked at the description of the "SEZ upate" event, please do. You'll see that it includes information that can be very handy when troubleshooting calendar issues. I realize that not everyone wants to see this event on your calendar. But I'm keeping it there for those who find it helpful in understanding what's going on and to fix problems.

For most users, this event will just be there each day, letting you know that the calendar is working. And as long as everything is working correctly, it'll change regularly and it'll always be in the past.

10) Can't get subscription to work on iOS device.
Due to SIGNIFICANT abuse of this service by iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, etc), placing unnecessary financial burden on me, I was forced to block these devices beginning on July 6, 2019. Such devices can no longer use these calendars directly.

If you are subscribed on your iOS device, please unsubscribe. See #8 above.

If you really want to see an SEZ calendar on your iPhone, just subscribe a different way. For example, many users subscribe to SEZ calendars via Google Calendar, then just sync their phone to their Google account. This works great because Google's servers are getting the calendar data from my site (in a respectful manner) instead of your phone getting the data (in a very disrepectful manner).

11) Other issues?
If you still have technical issues or questions, I want to hear from you. Please post a message on the South End Zone Facebook page and I'll help you there. You may even find other SEZ fans in the same situtation as yourself who have some tips.

If you're a Mac or iOS user, you should know about Christian Boyce, a Mac consultant in Los Angeles. He's a fan of SEZ and uses these calendars as well, and he's offered to assist people with their Mac questions.
12) Other solutions.
If my calendars don't suit your needs, please just unsubscribe. This may seem obvious, but I've heard from fans who are not happy with the way my calendars work and I don't understand why they continue to use them. I'd much prefer that you just stop the frustration. This is a free service that I've been offering for many years. I set up the calendars in the best way I know that allows me to support most users; but I realize that they are not ideal for everyone. So please don't be frustrated, just don't use them.

There are other options. For example, in Google Calendar, on your computer, you can:
  1. Click the plus sign next to "Other calendars" on the left.
  2. Select "Browse calendars of interest.
  3. In the "Sports" section click on "Football" then "NFL".
  4. Select any team to add their schedule to your calendar.

© 1995-2019 Scott Crevier, De Pere WI