This spring, Kevin Solomon, Kevin Kortsep and Jeremy Longobardi had an idea. The three were reminiscing on their undergraduate days at UConn, where the School of Business alumni spent many weekends at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.
Now, with the three of them in New York City, the trio longed for more Saturdays at the Rent, but knew it was something they couldn’t do consistently.
“The three of us all live in the city. We do the game watches, try to go to as many games as possible in and around the city as we can, but it’s just awfully difficult to get back to campus to go to a football game,” Kortsep said. “We always just felt it was difficult to get there for a Saturday afternoon game, but we really wanted to try and give back and support the program we loved as students and still love today.”
This desire to help - mixed in with some visits to the popular UConn discussion board called The Boneyard - turned their disappointment into a call to action.
“A lot of people on the Boneyard have been complaining about how the attendance is down... Instead of watching these trolls make excuses on the site, we were wondering what we could do to improve the situation and not just complain about it. That was where the inspiration was born for the ticket buying idea itself. We wanted to incorporate some good into it as well.”
Certainly donating them back to the ticket office was an option, but Solomon, Kortsep and Longobardi wanted to do more than that. They wanted to see where their tickets and donations were going right away and wanted to help grow the next generation of UConn fans. For these reasons, the Husky Ticket Project was born.
“We know the athletic department is struggling to sell tickets and we wish we could go. So I would pay $100 for a season ticket package and I can give it away to someone that can use it,” The trio said. “So we tried to come up with a win-win-win for everybody. We’re sourcing our alumni networks for donations to buy season tickets to football games and give back to the local Connecticut community by partnering with youth organizations.”
This coming school year, the group has a goal of purchasing 40 season ticket packages to benefit eight local youth groups - Governor’s Prevention Partnership, Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, RiseUp, The Susie Foundation, Hartford Youth Scholars, Middletown Youth Bureau, Klingberg Family Centers and the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern CT. Following each game, the folks behind the Husky Ticket Project will send a picture of the groups using the seats to those who donated and helped make this project a reality.
The Husky Ticket Project team has worked closely with both the ticket and compliance offices throughout the process, working to not only try and include some extra perks for groups such as parking or food vouchers, but to make sure they steer clear of any NCAA violations.
So far, the Husky Ticket Project will be just for UConn football this season. In the future, Solomon, Kortsep and Longobardi hope to expand their project in a multitude of ways.
“This year, the plan was to see what the interest was like, how much people would give and if people even want the tickets,” Kortsep said. “Moving forward, we would like to make this more of a legitimate organization, incorporate it, make it a 503c so donors can get a tax write off.”
“We’ve already been asked to do this for basketball and hockey and we haven’t even donated a ticket yet. This is definitely a great jumping off point for us.”
At this time, the project has raised $3,020 of their $4,000 goal for this season. If you feel interested in helping out this project, the group can be found on Twitter @Stubs4Pups and is soliciting donations through their GoFundMe page.