) -- That America can only guess who will be playing in Super Bowl XLIV shouldn't prevent fans from spending like football players before the game.
Sure, some years this spectacle of American excess takes place in nondescript burgs like Pasadena, Calif., Jacksonville, Fla., or Detroit, but this year it's in Miami. The home of South Beach, winter swimsuits and late-night Cuban sandwiches isn't exactly the kind of place where the high-profile parties are thrown in a Masonic temple. With the economic climate improved somewhat from the downturn that scrubbed
Sports Illustrated bashes in Tampa last year -- though
won't be running ads this year -- here are some suggestions for throwing a big-budget Miami football bash of your own:
Rent a mansion:
If Tony Montana's place in Miami was as big as some of the rental properties available on Super Bowl weekend, the gunmen sent to finish him off in
would still be looking for him.
Among the more than 670 Miami properties on rental site HomeAway.com, places that are still available include a five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot compound in
with a covered terrace that leads to a bridge over its lagoon pool, grotto and private pool house.
It's modest compared to the five-bedroom, 5,500-square foot, $4,000-a-night
palace on Biscayne Bay, with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, pool, hot tub, dock and 135 feet of waterfront.
They're all dwarfed, however, by the seven-bedroom, 6,800-square-foot villa on its own private beach in
. Its pool is surrounded by marble columns in a Romanesque piazza, its thatched-roof beachside cabana seats 25, its 65-foot dock can accommodate a yacht and the property's concierge will be there to assist you. Though many of the higher-end properties keep their price tags to themselves, HomeAway says they've been renting briskly as interest in Miami rentals jumped 61% at the end of last year from the year before.
Rent a yacht:
Why settle for a waterfront view when you can party on the water? The South Florida branch of international marine rental site BoatBookings is touting its selection of 40 luxury vessels as a
alternative to nonexistent hotel rooms.
Offerings start with puddle-skippers like the Tireless, a classic four-person, 68-foot 1963 Trumpy
, with two state rooms, kayak, heat and A/C, wet bar and dining area with a personal chef for $9,500 per week.
If you're still pining for a mansion, the 147-foot
has formal dining for 10; staterooms with walk-in closets, plasma televisions and private baths; electronics all controlled by universal remote; three outdoor decks; a party lounge with bar, card table and surround sound; and a main salon with a plasma television and grand piano.
is available for $127,000 a week.
Rent some field time:
Ever want to celebrate a Super Bowl win on the field, but not have to play the four preseason games, 16 regular-season games, up to three playoff games and a Super Bowl where 300-pound men who have worked for a Vince Lombardi trophy all their lives will hit you repeatedly for four quarters just to get one? Fear not, 103-pound weakling, because money will get you everywhere with the NFL.
For $5,700 to $9,800, depending on seat location,
NFL on Location
will give you and 700 other high rollers hotel accommodations, free food and swag, access to premium parking and security entrances, and 30 minutes on the field during post-game celebrations.
While baseball teams like the
have sold field access during regular-season games, the business of buying the championship experience is usually left to major-market front offices.
-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.
Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.