The University of Connecticut Huskies football team, headed to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 1, needs to sell more than 10,000 tickets to...

The University of Connecticut Huskies football team, headed to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 1, needs to sell more than 10,000 tickets to the game or eat the cost, but the task is proving difficult despite the fact that it is the team’s first ever Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game.

As part of its bowl contract, the school received 17,500 tickets for the game, which carry face values of $111 to $268 each, but as of last week it had only sold about 4,000, according to officials. The school launched an advertising campaign to sell the tickets, but the still recovering economy, and lower prices for game tickets on the secondary market, appear to be tripping up those efforts. In addition, the game will be played in Arizona, and airfares from Connecticut can easily run into the several hundred dollar range.

In an email last week to UConn season ticket holders and fans, the school said it needed to sell more than 13,000 of its 17,500-ticket allotment, and in television ads, the school is trying to entice fans to buy tickets as a donation, even if they cannot attend the game, and those tickets will be given to military personnel as a gift.

The text of the email reads:

UConn Football is headed to a BCS Bowl! We are proud of what this exposure means not just for the football team, but for the entire University community, our alumni, fans, and the State of Connecticut. Following are a few facts as they relate to our participation in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

–The Big East Conference will receive approximately $22 million from the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) this year. These funds are used to support operating expenses of the BIG EAST football conference and then shared with the eight member institutions equally as part of an annual distribution. In addition, the BCS funds are utilized to pay a bowl participation fee to each school which appears in a bowl game.

–UConn receives the largest BIG EAST bowl participation fee this year — $2.5 million — for its appearance in this year’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

–Despite receiving the largest bowl participation fee, UConn must purchase 17,500 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl tickets, valued at over $3.4 million. To date UConn has distributed 4,000 tickets.

We want to fill the seats for our Huskies! While we recognize that some of you may not be able to travel to Arizona, please know that there are military personnel and charitable youth organizations in Phoenix area that would love to attend the game and cheer for the Huskies.

Fans can help to provide tickets and support the bowl effort with a donation of any amount. UConn Club priority points will not be awarded.

Order online by filling out the form below or call (877) 288-2666, Monday–Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm to help us make Phoenix part of UConn Country! Thank you for your support.

Despite the UConn plea, the school will have an uphill battle to reach the goal, judging from the prices being listed for tickets on the secondary market. Oklahoma, UConn’s opponent, reportedly is having similar difficulty moving all of its 17,500 tickets.

According to ticket search engine FanSnap, more than 12,000 tickets were available on the nation’s leading secondary ticket Web sites as of today, December 20, and were listed for as little as $18 each. And, thousands of those tickets were listed for less than $50, which is less than half the cost of the face value for the lowest-priced Fiesta Bowl ticket.

Several college football bowl games — there are more than 30 — are experiencing brisk sales on the secondary market, including several non-BCS games.

But, Christian Anderson, spokesperson for FanSnap, told TicketNews that Fiesta Bowl ticket sales on the secondary market appear to be dropping significantly.

“It was number six when the Bowl invitations were announced, with ticket prices on December 6 averaging $213,” Anderson said. FanSnap ranks the secondary ticket sales of all 35 bowl games. “Today they’re averaging $145, and we currently have more than 5,000 Fiesta Bowl ticket listings for less than $111.”

In trying to rally fans, Randy Edsall, the head coach of the UConn football team, told the New Haven Register that people should look at the game as possibly being a once in a lifetime event.

“If you have the opportunity and the wherewithal to make it happen, (you) should make it happen, because this is a once in a lifetime experience for the most part,” Edsall told the Register.

“There’s (other) BCS (games), but this might be the only Fiesta Bowl we go to. We hope it’s not, but if you have the opportunity to go, (you) should spend the money and go.”