The Fiesta Bowl distributed 17,500 tickets to UConn, and the school is responsible to sell them all. The cheapest of those tickets cost $111 (in the lower end zone) and can cost as much as $268 for club level.
UConn also has a hotel obligation — a total of 550 rooms at three different hotels ranging in price from $125-225 a night, not including tax, with blocks reserved for either three or seven nights.
Additional expenses include a chartered flight and meals for the team, staff and 300-member band, as well as a $100,000 bonus to coach Randy Edsall, and smaller bonuses for assistants, per their contracts, for getting the team to a BCS bowl.
Cost of any tickets or hotel rooms that go unfilled are absorbed by the university.
As of Monday night, only 4,000 tickets had been sold, meaning UConn was still holding roughly $2.5 million in unsold tickets.
As the original article notes, UConn's inflow from making the Fiesta Bowl should be over $3 million, but consider this: Since teams that don't make BCS games in BCS conferences still get revenue, it's quite possible that by winning their final game at South Florida, UConn could have set itself back an amount of money that could stretch into the millions of dollars. Granted, going to a lower tier bowl game presents its own financial difficulties along the lines of what was described above-- albeit on a much lower scale-- but I can't help but to think that simply in terms of the bottom line, UConn is worse off making the Fiesta Bowl.
I don't think UConn's going to lose money on the deal, but it's not going to be the financial jackpot so frequently assumed when you get a BCS invitation.