Football fans lucky or wealthy enough to get a ticket for Super Bowl XLIII will have a few more choices for overnight accommodations in the Tampa Bay area, some of which will be closer to the stadium than the last three times the title game was staged there.Approximately 2,000 more rooms will be available for the February 2009 game than the last time Tampa hosted the Super Bowl in January 2001, according to Smith Travel Research, which counts approximately 20,132 rooms in Hillsborough County.

Full-service hotel additions in recent years include the 293-room Renaissance International Plaza, a few miles away from Raymond James Stadium, and a 360-unit Embassy Suites hotel in Downtown Tampa. At the same time, several existing hotels have been reflagged of late, including the 323-room InterContinental Tampa, formerly the Wyndham Westshore.

While there are no hotels in the blocks immediately surrounding the stadium, proximity of such accommodations has never been an issue with the National Football League, says Steve Hayes, executive VP of Tampa Bay & Co., the area’s convention and visitors’ bureau. Buses, taxis and limos are available to ferry people to and from the game site and other venues around town where Super Bowl-related events are held.

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