If you’re a big sports fan, like I am, you might be wondering if you should display your fandom on your credit card. The potential benefits extend beyond the status symbol associated with flashing your favorite team’s logo every time you pay for something, as some credit cards affiliated with professional sports teams offer notable perks such as targeted bonus categories and one-of-a-kind rewards opportunities.

National Hockey League

My favorite sports credit card is the NHL® Discover it® Credit Card*, which is basically the Discover it® Cash Back card with a different wrapper (all 32 NHL team logos are available, plus the league’s insignia). This is a card I would recommend to just about anyone — the hockey tie-in is a bonus for me and other puckheads.

It offers 5 percent cash back on rotating quarterly categories (after activation, up to $1,500 in quarterly spending). Other purchases earn 1 percent cash back. The Q1 2024 bonus categories are restaurants and drug stores. We don’t know yet what the rest of 2024 will entail, but prior years have included popular spending categories such as groceries, gas, Amazon.com and digital wallet purchases.

Another nice perk is that the card’s introductory bonus is to double all of the cash back that you earn in your first year. So for the first 12 months, you’re essentially getting 10 percent cash back on those popular rotating categories (up to the $1,500 quarterly spending cap) and 2 percent back on everything else. That’s pretty extraordinary, especially for a no-annual-fee card.

National Football League

The NFL also allows fans to choose a credit card with their favorite team’s logo or the league’s emblem. The NFL Extra Points VisaⓇ Credit Card* gives cardholders 3 percent back on qualifying NFL and NFL Team purchases (such as game tickets and team apparel). It also gives 2 percent back on food delivery and at grocery stores, restaurants, gyms and sporting goods stores. Other purchases earn 1 percent back.

Rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit or put toward experiences such as game tickets and meet-and-greets with NFL stars, as well as merchandise like signed memorabilia. There’s also a $100 introductory bonus, awarded as a statement credit, after new cardholders spend $500 on non-NFL purchases within 90 days of opening their account.

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Keep in mind: Additional benefits include 20 percent off NFLShop.com purchases made with the card, special financing on $250 or more in NFL tickets and extra rewards such as 5,000 bonus points after spending $3,500.

I like how the NFL Extra Points Card leans into relevant spending categories whether you’re at the game or watching at home. And there are unique ways to redeem your rewards points that appeal to football fans.

Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association

MLB and the NBA have a much more fragmented credit card structure. Some individual teams have an official credit or debit card, but there isn’t a league-wide offering along the same lines as the NHL and NFL cards.

Cardless, a financial technology startup, forged interesting partnerships in recent years with teams such as the Miami Marlins (MLB), Boston Celtics (NBA), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) and New Orleans Pelicans (NBA). Those cards trended more toward the aforementioned NFL model, offering relevant rewards categories (for example, game tickets and food) and redemption opportunities (including statement credits, team-related experiences and merchandise). However, Cardless is no longer accepting applications for any of those cards after pivoting its business strategy to other types of co-branded cards serving airlines and shopping malls.

A small number of MLB and NBA teams still have individual card partnerships with various issuers, such as The New York Yankees MastercardⓇ Credit Card* and the America First Utah Jazz VisaⓇ*, which is a debit card.

The Yankees version gives 5 percent back at Yankee Stadium shops and concessions, which is great for frequent attendees. Even better, the card doles out 3 percent back at a wide variety of restaurants and gas stations as well as on rideshares and mass transit. That’s some serious everyday value. Other purchases earn 1 percent back.

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Keep in mind: Like most debit cards, the Jazz card doesn’t give rewards on purchases, but it does include several potentially lucrative discounts ranging from 10 percent off up to four single-game tickets and 15 percent off at the team store, plus early access to the arena on game days and invitations to select pre-sales for concerts and other events.

The bottom line

While it may be fun to plunk down your favorite team’s logo every time you buy something, focus on what the card can do for you — not the external wrapper. If your spending habits line up with the card’s top rewards categories, it could be a win-win, especially if you’re able to turn those rewards into something you value.

Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at ted.rossman@bankrate.com and I’d be happy to help.

Issuer-required disclosure statement

*The information about the NHL Discover itⓇ Credit Card, NFL Extra Points VisaⓇ Credit Card, The New York Yankees MastercardⓇ Credit Card and America First Utah Jazz VisaⓇ has been collected independently by Bankrate. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.