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RJS so close, tickets far away

No home-field advantage for Super Bowl XXXV, but resourceful fans can get in.

Super Bowl XXXV will be played at Raymond James Stadium next January, but don't think tickets will be any easier to get just because you live in the Tampa Bay area.

But there are ways.

Sunday Billings, the NFL's special events manager, said the league will sell 500 pairs through a lottery.

To enter, send a certified or registered letter to the NFL between Feb. 1 and June 1. Include your name and address and indicate you want to be included in the lottery. The address: National Football League, 280 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017, attention: Super Bowl XXXV Lottery.

Billings said lottery winners will be notified by October. For information, call (212) 450-2000.

The Bucs will get tickets that will be distributed to season-ticket holders through a lottery.

If you still are shut out, try Internet brokers, who were selling tickets to Sunday's game for $1,800 to $4,000, depending on seat location.

The Internet auction site offered tickets. A site called brought together buyers and sellers.

Travel agents also have Super Bowl packages that include tickets, hotel and air fare. This year's packages went as high as $3,000 depending on the accommodations.

Carynn Cave, owner of Cave Travel in Palm Harbor, said she wouldn't be surprised if Tampa Bay fans bought packages just for the tickets, especially if the Bucs are playing. "I had people call me (last week) and ask me if I could just get them tickets to Atlanta," she said.

Dennis Pfeiffer, owner of Creative Sports in Tampa, said he already has packages available for next year's Super Bowl. But he doesn't expect locals to buy just for the ticket. "Most of the hotels require three and four nights," he said. "People aren't going to pay that just to get the tickets."

Then again, he said, "If it gets down to that and depending on how tight the tickets are and if the Bucs are in it, people will do about anything."