NFL cheerleader salary: How much do cheerleaders make in the NFL?

NFL cheerleader salary: How much do cheerleaders make in the NFL?

Grace Waruguru
January 10, 2023 at 11:04 AM

NFL cheerleaders add pomp and colour to any game and event with their vibrant dance moves and formations. Considering their time and effort to prepare for any performance, you would imagine they take home a decent salary. Read on and find out what they earn.

NFL cheerleader salary
The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders performing during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 24, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. Photo: Richard Rodriguez
Source: Getty Images

The role of cheerleaders includes entertaining the fans during games and team functions, cheering their teams, and executing game routines in conjunction with the coach. They are also responsible for staying up to date with the latest cheerleading trends and practices.

What is the NFL cheerleader's salary?

For a while, there has been debate about cheerleaders' wages. Several people complained that they earned below the minimum wage, and the matter saw a few cheerleaders go to court to contest the pay and working conditions.

How much does an NFL cheerleader make?

The average NFL cheerleader salary is approximately $150 per game or $9 hourly for supporting cheerleaders, amounting to $22,500 per year. They also earn between $50 and $75 for public appearances.

However, professional cheerleaders earn an estimated $15-20 hourly, which translates to $75,000 annually. Additionally, they take home about $5,000 in match fees, which total about nine or ten per season.

NFL cheerleader salary
The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders in Arlington, Texas, before a game with the Philadelphia Eagles on December 24, 2022. Photo: Matthew Pearce
Source: Getty Images

Cheerleader salaries are based on specific criteria, like experience level, the team they represent and the state they live in. According to Climb The Ladder, the median NFL cheerleader salary per year is $52,570, while the top 10% annual salary is $124,000.

NFL cheerleader's salary by team

Cheerleaders are contracted privately, so the individual teams decide how much to pay them and do not necessarily follow the state and federal minimum wage policies. While most teams have cheerleading squads, six teams currently operate without them. These are:

  • Chicago Bears
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Cleveland Browns
  • New York Giants
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Green Bay Packers

The teams have various reasons for excluding cheering squads, for example, cold climate. The reasons vary across all groups. Cleveland Browns and New York Giants have unofficial spirit squads to support them during home games.

NFL cheerleader salary
The Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders at a game with the Dallas Cowboys on December 18, 2022, in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo: David Rosenblum
Source: Getty Images

NFL teams do not follow a guided structure to pay their cheerleaders; the average payment applies to most teams. However, some, like the Dallas Cowboys, have gained popularity and reportedly pay their performers more than other teams.

How much do NFL cheerleaders earn?

The take-home is approximately $500 per match, totalling $75,000 per annum, which is currently the highest NFL cheerleader salary. Others, like the Carolina Topcats, pay their squad the same amount annually.

Cheerleader remuneration lawsuits

Cheerers spend approximately 30-40 hours weekly practising their routines and dance moves. They also have to keep their physical fitness in top tier, which is core to their performances. Initially, they earned as low as $5 an hour, which was significantly low compared to other individuals involved in the sport.

Various suits have been filed to deal with the wages issue, while others involve discrimination, sexual harassment and unfair working conditions. In September 2014, the Oakland Raiders were ordered to pay their cheerleaders minimum wages.

NFL cheerleader salary
Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders during a timeout in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 25, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona. Photo: Christian Petersen
Source: Getty Images

They were accused of paying their crew less than $125 per day and denying them overtime. The settlement amounted to $1.25 million, which was paid off in 2017.

Dallas Cowboys were also involved in a court case when one of their performers alleged that one of the senior executives was behind a partial wall in their locker room with his iPhone toward them while they were changing their clothes. Following the proceedings, each cheerleader received $399,523.27.

Following these and more cases, the NFL cheerleader salary in 2022 has improved, and the working conditions will improve as the profession continues to gain popularity and attract more individuals.

NFL cheerleader salary
Detroit Lions cheerleaders perform during the second half of a game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, December 15, 2019. Photo: Jorge Lemus
Source: Getty Images

What do NFL cheerleaders do for a living?

Cheerleaders perform in public or private events that their teams participate in. In some games, they also sell tickets for these teams. In addition, they promote their brand's identity on social media and other platforms and also participate in local charity events.

The NFL cheerleader's salary discussion has triggered more issues surrounding football and the working conditions for those involved in the sport. Cheerers earn way less than their colleagues in football, like mascots and water boys, and fans will be keen to see the improvements that will come in the near future.

READ ALSO: What is the highest-paid professional sport in the world right now? published an article discussing the most lucrative sport in the world today. These sports that are well-paying and have resulted in some of the wealthiest individuals globally.

Cycling, baseball, and ice hockey are some of the high-paying sports. Follow the link above to check out the complete article and discover why these sports pay the players significant salaries.

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Grace Waruguru