UConn Huskies

Hot Sauce Challenge Raises Nearly $100K for Husky Ticket Project

NBC Universal, Inc.

Remember when UConn men’s basketball fans were drinking hot sauce last season? The trend started by Bryan Penfield on Twitter when he pledged he would drink hot sauce if the Huskies made a comeback against Marquette. They made a comeback, so Jackson drank hot sauce and so did hundreds of others, including Dan Hurley, Geno Auriemma, and Rebecca Lobo.

“I thought being a UConn celebrity is kind of cool,” said Penfield. “People might offer me a beer or something like that but no they want to drink hot sauce with me.”

Now that trend online has had a real-life impact on the next generation of UConn fans -- raising almost $100,000 for the Husky Ticket Project.

“I still can't believe what's happening,” said Penfield.

Ahead of the Huskies sold out Big East opener against Providence, more than a hundred fans got together with Penfield, athletic director David Benedict, and members of the Husky Ticket Project to take a shot of hot sauce together, in person.

That one video has led to about 2,000 tickets being purchased for underprivileged kids to attend UConn games. Husky Ticket Project co-founder Kevin Solomon says about 90% of that is because of the hot sauce videos-turned-fundraiser.

“Our goal our first year was to raise $3,000 and that first year we raised $6,000 which really taught us that we had something there," said Solomon. “But as I stand here right now and we’re about to surpass $100,000, I don’t think I could have ever imagined that we would have been able to reach this number.”

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