Major League Soccer and Neobank Avant Form Partnership

A professional sports league and a FinTech are teaming up to bring fans a new credit card offering. This week, the “credit-first neobank” Avant announced that it had entered into a multi-year partnership with Major League Soccer. As part of that deal, the company will soon be launching a co-branded credit card called the MLS Forward card. Avant will also be featured at MLS events and will become a Presenting Sponsor of MLS matches on Univision beginning in the second half of this regular season.

According to the Avant site, the MLS Forward Credit Card will offer cardholders 5x points on purchases from MLSStore.com, 3x on gas, 2x on dining, 2x on groceries, and 1x on all other purchases. These points will then be redeemable for cashback, MLS tickets, or MLSStore.com gift cards. On top of that, customers will enjoy such benefits as ticket pre-sale opportunities, express entry to select major events, and special merchandise.

The card will also be available in 23 different design options, including one for each of MLS’s 21 clubs as well as two additional league designs. While there is currently only a waitlist for the card, Avant is also teasing an eventual welcome bonus that will allow cardholders to earn 5,000 bonus points after they spend $1,000 in their first 90 days. Lastly, the MLS Forward Credit Card comes at no annual fee.

Announcing the deal with Major League Soccer, Avant’s Head of Business Development & Partnerships Kevin Chin said, “This multi-year exclusive strategic partnership with MLS further expands upon Avant’s offering to its customers. The agreement designates Avant as the Official Credit Card Partner of Major League Soccer, the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Cup and eMLS, and will result in the creation of the fan affinity credit card.”

Additionally, MLS’s EVP of Brand Alliances and Consumer Products Carter Ladd said of working with Avant, “As Major League Soccer continues to experience a period of incredible growth and innovation focused on the fan experience, we are proud to partner with Avant to engage fans and reward them for their passion. We look forward to collaborating with Avant on offering access to an MLS-branded affinity credit card that will provide our fans with access to a series of experiences and a way to highlight their fandom through their everyday lives.”

Interestingly, it seems that professional sports have become a go-to for FinTech co-branded credit card opportunities. Most notably, Cardless has launched offerings from numerous sports franchises from the MLB, NBA, and the Premier League. Elsewhere, Concerto recently announced a deal that will see them launch cards tailored to four MLB teams. Now, with Avant covering Major League Soccer, a clear trend is emerging. As for the MLS Forward Credit Card itself, it seems to be a solid fit for fans, although it’s not quite clear whether the point redemption rate will be the same for cashback as it is for MLS-specific options. Still, this deal will be one to keep an eye on as this latest FinTech trend continues.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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