updated 1/26/2009 11:07:37 AM ET 2009-01-26T16:07:37

The deal
Football fans from all over the country are gearing up for the big game in Tampa Bay on Feb. 1 — and area hotels have jacked up their prices to meet the demands. Anyone planning on heading to Florida to support the Steelers or Cardinals will have to book soon if they plan on spending less than a whopping $500/night for a room.

The good news is your Tampa Bay stay will be packed with exciting pre- and post-game thrills, and time for the beach. We’ve rounded up some of the most affordable hotel options that get you close to the center of the action.

For more suggestions and help on planning your Superbowl escape, consult the official visitor’s guide at www.tampabaysuperbowl.com.

Ramada Inn St. Petersburg
Just 20 minutes from the site of the big game and three miles from downtown St. Petersburg, the Ramada Inn St. Petersburg offers pigskin-loving patrons amenities such as a heated pool, fitness center and two onsite restaurants. Prepare for the game with the Ramada’s complimentary breakfast. Rates start at $195/night.

Pelican Pointe Condos by Sirata
Situated just 500 feet from the Gulf of Mexico, the Pelican Pointe Condos by Sirata offer football fans easy access to Raymond James Stadium (site of Super Bowl XLIII). Plus, the Clearwater Beach location will add a tropical vibe to your sports weekend. Pelican Pointe is smoke-free and offers a heated outdoor pool, onsite car rentals, free parking, and rooms with kitchenettes with refrigerators, microwave ovens and coffeemakers. Rates start at $200/night.

Sirata Beach resort
Located right off of St. Pete Beach, the Sirata Beach resort lets guests unwind in rooms with either balconies or patios, and prepare for game day by enjoying the onsite pool and jacuzzi. Dine like a football champion at the resort’s Compass Grille restaurant then finish the night off by celebrating your team’s victory at Beach Harry's Bar and Rum Runners poolside bar. Rates start at $219/night, but stay four nights and you’ll save 15 percent on your stay.

Days Inn Tampa North
Just seven minutes from the stadium and within easy striking distance top family attractions like the Museum of Science and Industry and the Florida Aquarium, the Days Inn Tampa North offers a comfortable and particularly affordable stay for sports-obsessed families. Not only do kids under 17 stays free in the same room as their parent or guardian, the motel also offers discounted tickets to nearby Busch Gardens, and free continental breakfast daily. Rates start at $259/night, with a minimum three-night stay and full advance payment required.

Alden Beach Resort & Suites
Located just 30 minutes from the site of the big game where you’ll find plenty of quality pre-game options, Alden Beach Resort and Suites, just next to the beach, gives travelers a home away from home with rooms that feature a kitchen or kitchenette, fitness center and Internet access. Go tailgating before the kickoff at the resort’s beachside bar, barbeque grill and two outdoor pools. Rates start at $267/night.

Four-night Embassy Suites Tampa Brandon hotel
Fans heading to the Tampa Area together as a group should consider a four-night package stay at Embassy Suites Tampa Brandon, available from SportsTraveler.net. Guests at this property will enjoy accommodations in a two-room hotel suite, with amenities like a fully equipped kitchen with microwave, high-speed internet and two TVs (yes, they do offer HBO, CNN and ESPN). Plus, enjoy a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast before heading to stadium for the big game! Nightly rates start at $519 and the four-night stay is available for $2,076.

The dollars
Based on double occupancy. Taxes and fees are additional.

The catch
Game day is coming up fast — so book soon for the best rates!

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