Credit Cards for Sports Fans: A Closer Look

Should you cheer for credit cards for your sports team or league?

Aug. 24, 2013 — -- Baseball is entering the pennant race, football season is about to begin, and basketball and hockey teams will soon start their training camps. So now is as good a time as ever to consider if sports fans should be carrying a credit card affiliated with their favorite league.

Several of the major professional leagues have partnered with banks to offer rewards credit cards. For example, Barclays offers its NFL Extra Points card, which rewards points for spending that can be used for cash back, travel rewards or tickets to NFL games. Other benefits include discounts on NFL merchandise, but the major draw is two Super Bowl tickets for 200,000 points.

The First Thing to Do Before Applying for a Credit Card

Bank of America offers its Major League Baseball card and a Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour Cash Rewards card. These cards each feature 1 percent cash back on purchases, 2 percent on groceries and 3 percent on gas for the first $1,500 in combined gas and grocery purchases each quarter. In each case, cardholders are offered cards that feature their favorite team or athlete. The PGA Tour card features a sign-up bonus of two tickets to PGA Tour events and VIP access to certain golf courses, yet the Major League Baseball card doesn't appear to have any special baseball-related offers.

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Bank of America also offers the MLB Extra Bases Card. This product only offers one point per dollar spent on all purchases, but points can be redeemed for baseball tickets, memorabilia, unique experiences or just cash back.

Otherwise, the National Basketball Association (NBA) offers a check card with BBVA Compass, and the NHL offers a credit card to Canadian residents through its partner, Scotia Bank.

Are These Cards Worth It?

Cardholders who carry debt should avoid all rewards cards, including these, and seek products with the lowest interest rate. Furthermore, those who pay their entire balance in full each month should seek to maximize the value of their rewards. Therefore, cardholders need to ask themselves if the rewards they receive from these sports-affiliated cards offer the most value available.

For example, the NFL Extra Points card offers two tickets to any game for 25,000 points, earned from spending $25,000. That same amount spent on Capital One's new Quicksilver card, which offers 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, would earn cardholders $375. If those two tickets are worth more than $375, then it will be worthwhile for fans to hold that card. Football fans know that the going rate for tickets will all depend on a number of factors like how well their team is doing, how big their city is, and when the game is occurring.

What Credit Card Users Should Do

How to Live Within Your Means on Credit Cards

Credit cards are important financial instruments and make for poor banners when waived at the stadium. Thankfully, all of these leagues, teams and athletes offer a complete line of hats, T-shirts and other gear for fans. If your favorite sport's credit card does not make financial sense, you should look elsewhere to pay less interest or earn more rewards. Then you can use the savings to support your team in other ways.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.