How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Really Make?A Deep Dive into the World of Professional Cheerleading

Cheerleading may appear to be a lot of fun and a great way to show off your choreography, but the cheerleading world isn’t as upbeat as it appears. We’re going to break down how much do NFL cheerleaders make and answer if it is a lucrative career.

In the captivating world of professional football, where star athletes command astronomical salaries, a question of interest for many often arises: How much do NFL cheerleaders truly earn? Beyond the glitz and glamor of game-day performances, these talented individuals’ financial realities often remain mysterious.

While it is widely known that NFL cheerleaders undergo rigorous training and exhibit exceptional dance, choreography, and showmanship skills, their compensation has been a subject of curiosity and speculation.

Beneath the dazzling smiles and high-energy routines lies a complex web of financial arrangements. From base salaries to performance bonuses, promotional opportunities, and endorsement deals, NFL cheerleaders navigate a unique landscape to secure their livelihoods. However, challenges surrounding fair pay and labor rights spark debates on the equitable treatment of these dedicated professionals.

NFL cheerleaders train for more than 30-40 hours a week. Not to mention they travel with the team in appalling conditions. Yet they are believed to make not little but minimum wage. This article aims to shed some light on the hidden truth behind the earnings of these talented yet ignored captivating performers.

Join us as we embark on an enlightening exploration of the financial side of NFL cheerleading. Dive into the factors influencing their compensation, uncover surprising anecdotes, and gain a deeper understanding of the real-life experiences of the extraordinary performers who grace the sidelines of America’s most celebrated sport.

How much do NFL cheerleaders make?

NFL cheerleaders’ salaries vary significantly depending on the team and the specific organization they work for. However, it’s important to note that NFL cheerleading is not a full-time job but a part-time or seasonal position. Cheerleaders in the NFL are primarily compensated for their time and effort during regular sessions and appearances at various events. Here are some general factors that influence the earnings of NFL cheerleaders.

 Image Source: USA Today

Image Source: USA Today

  • Base Pay: The base pay for NFL cheerleaders typically ranges from $75 to $150 per game. This amount may vary between teams and can be influenced by market size and team popularity.
  • Practice and rehearsal pay: Cheerleaders are required to attend regular practices and rehearsals to prepare for game day performances. These sessions are typically paid, but the compensation can vary widely, ranging from minimum wage to a higher hourly rate.
  • Additional Appearances: Cheerleaders often participate in promotional events, community outreach programs, charity functions, and other appearances on behalf of the team. These appearances may come with additional compensation, which can vary based on the nature and duration of the event.
  • Travel Expenses: Cheerleaders may receive reimbursement for travel expenses, including transportation, accommodation, and meals when they travel for away games or team-related events.
  • Uniform and appearance expenses: Cheerleaders are responsible for purchasing uniforms and covering appearance-related costs such as makeup, hair styling, and accessories. However, some teams may provide a partial or full subsidy for these expenses.

NFL cheerleaders are essential to the game-day experience, entertaining fans with high-energy routines, stunning costumes, and contagious enthusiasm. However, despite their significant role in the game, they are underpaid. The pay for NFL cheerleaders varies greatly depending on the team and city they represent, but generally, they are paid very little for their work.

Their total earnings for a season could range between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars, depending on how many games they play and how much they are paid per game. Some teams pay extra for practices, public appearances, and other events. However, this is more of a rarity than the rule.

Despite many obstacles, many women continue to pursue their dream of becoming NFL cheerleaders, driven by a love of dance, a passion for the sport, and the chance to perform in front of thousands of fans. However, it is critical to recognize these women’s sacrifices and hard work and advocate for better pay and working conditions for all cheerleaders.

The truth about NFL cheerleader salary

How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Really Make

NFL cheerleader salaries vary greatly depending on the team, market, and other factors. When you consider the hours they spend practicing, performing, and making public appearances, NFL cheerleaders are often paid less than minimum wage.

NFL cheerleaders can earn as little as $50 to $75 per game, according to a 2014 CNN Money report, and some teams do not pay their cheerleaders at all for practices or other appearances. A few groups, however, do provide additional advantages like complimentary uniforms, travel, and photo shoots.

How much do NFL cheerleaders get paid? Breaking down the numbers

NFL cheerleader salaries vary by team and are typically not made public. According to a CNBC’s 2018 report, the average annual salary for an NFL cheerleader is between $2,000 and $4,000 per season. This is a minimal amount compared to the average salary of an NFL player, which is around $2.7 million per year.

Furthermore, many NFL cheerleaders are not full-time employees and need to receive benefits such as healthcare or retirement plans. However, they may receive additional compensation for appearances and performances outside NFL games.


In recent years, there have been legal challenges and settlements related to the low pay and treatment of NFL cheerleaders. Some teams have increased their pay and benefits in response to these issues. Overall, the salary of NFL cheerleaders remains. There have been legal challenges and settlements in recent years regarding NFL cheerleaders’ low pay and treatment. In response to these concerns, some teams have increased their pay and benefits, but the average NFL cheerleader’s salary remains low.

 Image Source: The Conversation

Image Source: The Conversation

NFL cheerleaders usually earn a lower salary than other professionals in the sports industry. Based on a 2018 CNBC report, the average annual salary for an NFL cheerleader is between $2,000 and $4,000 per season. This means they earn between $100 and $200 per game, which is a pittance compared to the salaries of NFL players, coaches, and executives.

It should be noted that this salary varies depending on the team, location, and other factors. Some NFL teams may pay their cheerleaders more than others, and some may offer additional benefits or compensation for cameos and performances outside of NFL games.

NFL cheerleaders are classified as independent contractors or part-time employees rather than full-time employees. This means they may not be eligible for benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, or paid time off.

Despite the relatively low pay and lack of benefits, many people want to be NFL cheerleaders because they want to be a part of a professional sports team and perform in front of large crowds. Furthermore, some NFL teams provide additional benefits such as free uniforms, travel expenses, and networking and professional development opportunities.

NFL cheerleader pay

According to a CNBC report in 2018, the average annual salary for an NFL cheerleader is between $2,000 and $4,000. This is a minimal amount compared to the average salary of an NFL player, which is around $2.7 million per year. Furthermore, many NFL cheerleaders are not full-time employees and do not receive

From Cheers to Championships: a look at the exciting history of Cheerleading

Men dominated cheerleading early on, and the first organized cheer squads comprised male students. Women did not begin to participate in cheerleading until the early 1900s, and even then, they were mostly relegated to sideline roles, cheering from the sidelines and performing basic routines.

 Image Source: SQN Sport

Image Source: SQN Sport

Cheerleaders’ roles evolved alongside the sport. Gymnastics and dance were introduced into their routines, and competitions became more intense and sophisticated. The first national cheerleading competition was held in the 1950s, and the sport began to gain mainstream recognition—benefits such as healthcare or retirement plans.

They may, however, be compensated for appearances and performances outside of NFL games. It should be noted that these figures may not be up to date and may vary depending on the team, location, and other factors.

How much do NFL cheerleaders make a year?

According to CNBC’s 2018 report, the average annual salary for an NFL cheerleader is between $2,000 and $4,000.This is a very small amount compared to the average salary of an NFL player, which is around $2.7 million per year.

Furthermore, many NFL cheerleaders are not full-time employees and do not receive benefits such as healthcare or retirement plans. They may, however, be compensated for appearances and performances outside of NFL games. It should be noted that these figures may not be up to date and may vary depending on the team, location, and other factors.

The cheerleading industry: how much do cheerleaders make?

Cheerleader pay varies greatly depending on the level and type of cheerleading, the location, and the organization they work for. High school cheerleaders are usually unpaid or receive a small stipend for their time and efforts. Cheerleaders in college may receive scholarships or stipends, but the amount varies greatly depending on the school and division level.

 Image Source: The Guardian

Image Source: The Guardian

Professional cheerleaders for sports teams such as the NFL, NBA, or Major League Soccer typically earn a set salary or hourly rate ranging from minimum wage to several hundred dollars per game or event. They may also be compensated extra for public appearances, photo shoots, and other promotional events.

However, it is essential to note that professional cheerleading is not a full-time job, and most cheerleaders have other jobs or careers. Overall, cheerleader pay can vary greatly and may not be their primary source of income.

Do cheerleaders get paid?

They are compensated, but the amount varies. If we are talking about something other than averages, cheerleaders usually make around $500 per match. That is if your squad is well-known and popular. For example, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, dubbed “America’s Sweethearts,” one of the most popular groups in the NFL, earn between $15 and $20 per hour, or $500 per game. As a result, their annual salary is approximately $75,000.

Similarly, the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, dubbed the Carolina TopCats, are paid $75,000 annuallyCheerleading grew in popularity throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with more and more schools and colleges adding teams and competitions to their athletic programs. Cheerleading had evolved into a full-fledged sport in its own right by the 1980s, with its own set of rules and regulations, and the first cheerleading championships were held.

Cheerleading is now a highly competitive and physically demanding sport that necessitates strength, agility, and teamwork. Cheerleaders are true athletes performing intricate stunts and routines that require exceptional skill and precision.

Despite its evolution, cheerleading remains an integral part of American sports culture, with thousands of teams and athletes competing and attending events nationwide. Cheerleading has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a way to support athletes to its current status as a full-fledged sport, and its history is as exciting as it is inspiring.

Cheerleading pay disparity: A look at salary differences between Patriots and Colts

The cheerleaders for the New England Patriots are compensated for their time and efforts. They are paid a salary and are expected to maintain a professional appearance and attitude.

Patriots cheerleader salary

Cheerleaders for the New England Patriots are essential to the team’s image and brand and are held to high standards. They are an integral part of the fan experience on game day, and their performance is critical to the Patriots’ success.

 Image Source: New England Patriots

Image Source: New England Patriots

A cheer squad typically earns $150 per game. This equates to about $22,500 in taxes per year. Furthermore, they may receive between $50 and $75 if they appear publicly for a promotional event. They are not compensated in the same way as other professionals.

According to estimates, a professional NFL cheerleader can earn up to $75,000 annually. In contrast, a supporting cheerleader earns around $20,000 per year. A professional cheerleader can expect to earn between $15 and $20 per hour.

Colts cheerleader salary

Several factors determine a Colts cheerleader’s salary, including experience, performance, and other factors. Colts cheerleaders, on the other hand, can earn between $50 and $100 per game, according to sources. They are also compensated for appearances, rehearsals, and other events.

 Image Source: Indianapolis Colts

Image Source: Indianapolis Colts

It is worth noting that being a Colts cheerleader is not a full-time job, and most of them work or attend school. Many do it because they enjoy dancing and want to represent Colt’s organization.

How much do cheerleaders make in comparison to other NFL professionals?

There is a significant disparity when comparing the earnings of NFL cheerleaders to other professionals associated with the league. NFL players, coaches, and staff members earn significantly higher salaries than cheerleaders. Here’s a breakdown of the typical earnings of different NFL professionals compared to cheerleaders.

  • NFL Players: They are the highest-paid individuals within the league. The salaries of professional football players vary widely depending on their skill level, experience, and position. The average salary for an NFL player can range from several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars per year. Top-tier players, such as star quarterbacks or elite athletes, can earn tens of millions annually, including signing bonuses and endorsement deals.
  • Coaches and staff: Coaches, trainers, and other staff members associated with NFL teams typically earn more than cheerleaders. The salaries of coaches can vary greatly depending on their experience and position. Head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, and other key coaching staff members earn millions yearly. Other staff members, such as athletic trainers and team administrators, earn more modest salaries.
  • Front office executive: Executives and higher-level management personnel within NFL teams, such as team owners, general managers, and team presidents, earn significantly higher salaries than cheerleaders. Their earnings can reach millions or even tens of millions annually, particularly for successful and popular franchises.
 Image Source: Michigan Athletics

Image Source: Michigan Athletics

The following table compares NFL cheerleaders’ annual salaries to other NFL professionals. (not including players, as they are extremely well paid).

Cheerleaders $22,500
Water boys $53.000
Mascots $25,000
Quarterbacks $7 million
Wide receivers $2.8 million
Head coaches $6.7 million
Referees $205,000


Unlike players, coaches, and staff members, cheerleaders are typically not considered full-time employees and often have other professional pursuits or careers alongside their cheerleading commitments.

The financial disparity between cheerleaders and other NFL professionals has been a subject of discussion and criticism in recent years, with some advocating for improved compensation and work conditions for cheerleaders.

Breaking down the numbers: The average NFL cheerleader salary vs. professional cheerleader salary

The salary difference between professional and average cheerleading is described below:

 Image Source: Computerworld

Image Source: Computerworld

Average NFL cheerleader salary

The rate is about $150 a game. A report just last year from NBC News pinpointed the average pay for NFL cheerleaders to be about $150 a game, or roughly $22,500 a year, which is not much different than what it was reported to be in the original Raiders lawsuit.

Professional cheerleader salary

A professional cheerleader’s salary can vary depending on factors such as the team or organization for which they work, their level of experience, and the group’s location.

According to various sources, a professional cheerleader’s salary in the United States can range from $50 to $200 per game. Some teams may also offer extra pay for rehearsals, appearances, and other events.

It should be noted that cheerleading is frequently regarded as a part-time or secondary job, and many professional cheerleaders have other primary sources of income. Furthermore, some professional cheerleaders may receive additional benefits such as free uniforms.

Cheerleader salary chart

As of Feb 28, 2023, the average annual pay for a cheerleader in the United States is $32,142 a year.

According to ZipRJackson, WYecruiter, these are the top highest paying cities for cheerleader jobs




San Jose, CA

$38,533 $3,211 $741 $18.53
Jackson, WY $38,249 $3,187 $735 $18.39
Oakland, CA $38,232 $3,186 $735 $18.38
Vallejo, CA $37,586 $3,132 $722 $18.07
Hayward, CA $37,387 $3,115 $718 $17.97
Seattle, WA $37,366 $3,113 $718 $17.96
Santa Barbara, CA $37,086 $3,090 $713 $17.83
Sunnyvale, CA $36,896 $3,074 $709 $17.74
Concord, CA $36,844 $3,070 $708 $17.71
Barnstable Town, MA $36,791 $3,065 $707 $17.69

We’ve identified ten cities where the typical Cheerleader salary is higher than the national average. San Jose, CA, tops the list, with Jackson, WY, and Oakland, CA, close behind in second and third place. Oakland, CA, outperforms the national average by $6,090 (18.9%), and San Jose, CA, exceeds the national average by another $6,391 (19.9%).

With average salaries higher than the national average in these ten cities, the opportunities for economic advancement by changing locations as a cheerleader are highly fruitful.

Ultimately, the average salary for these top ten cities varies very little at 4% between San Jose, CA, and Barnstable Town, MA, reinforcing the limited potential for wage progress. Once considering the location and salary for a cheerleader role, the possibility of a lower cost of living may be the most crucial factor to consider.

Qualifications of a Cheerleader

Cheerleading is a physically demanding activity that requires a combination of athleticism, coordination, and spirit. Qualifications for becoming a cheerleader may vary depending on the level and type of cheerleading.

On the other hand, qualifications for NFL cheerleaders can vary slightly between teams, but some general qualifications and requirements are commonly sought after. Here are the typical qualifications for NFL cheerleaders:

 Image Source: Fayette Tribune

Image Source: Fayette Tribune

  • Dance and Performance Skills: NFL cheerleaders are expected to have a strong background in dance. They should possess excellent technique, flexibility, rhythm, and coordination. Proficiency in various dance styles, including jazz, hip-hop, and pom, is often required.
  • Physical Fitness and Appearance: NFL cheerleaders must maintain a high physical fitness and athletic physique. They should have good cardiovascular health, strength, and physical conditioning to perform routines, stunts, and dances professionally. Cheerleaders are also expected to maintain a well-groomed appearance and adhere to the team or organization’s specific grooming and fitness standards.
  • Performance Abilities: NFL cheerleaders should have exceptional performance abilities. They must captivate and entertain an audience, engage with fans, and project enthusiasm and energy throughout games and events. Strong stage presence, showmanship, and the ability to perform under pressure are crucial.
  • Personality and Communication Skills: Cheerleaders are often considered ambassadors for their teams and are expected to interact with fans, sponsors, and the media. They should have excellent communication skills, a friendly and approachable personality, and the ability to represent their team and organization professionally.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: NFL cheerleaders must work well as a team. They must demonstrate excellent teamwork skills, including communication, trust, and synchronization with fellow cheerleaders, as they perform complex routines and stunts together. The ability to follow instructions and adapt to changes quickly is also essential.
  • Time Commitment and Availability: Being an NFL cheerleader requires a significant time commitment. Cheerleaders must attend regular practices, rehearsals, and conditioning sessions to maintain and improve their skills. They must also be available for game day performances, appearances at community events, charity functions, and other team-related activities.
  • Age and Academic Requirements: Most NFL cheerleading teams have age restrictions, typically requiring cheerleaders to be at least 18 years Some teams may also have height and weight requirements. Additionally, many NFL cheerleaders are college students or have completed their education, although this requirement may vary between teams.

It is important to note that while these qualifications provide a general overview, the specific requirements for NFL cheerleaders may differ among different teams. If you are interested in becoming an NFL cheerleader, research and reach out to the specific team or organization you are interested in.

The mental strain on NFL cheerleaders

Cheerleading can be highly competitive and demanding, damaging cheerleaders’ mental health. Cheerleaders may face a variety of mental health issues, including:

Pressure to perform

Cheerleaders are often expected to perform at a high level, both in practice and during competitions. This can create a significant amount of pressure, which can lead to stress and anxiety.

Body image concerns

Cheerleaders are often judged on their appearance and may feel pressure to maintain a specific body type or weight. This can lead to body image concerns and disordered eating.

Risk of injury

Cheerleading involves a lot of physical activity and stunts, which can put cheerleaders at risk of injury. The fear of getting hurt or being unable to perform can be stressful.

 Image Source: NFL.com

Image Source: NFL.com

Time commitment

Cheerleading can be time-consuming, with practices, games, and competitions taking up significant time. This can make it difficult for cheerleaders to balance their academic and social lives, leading to stress and burnout.

Social pressure

Cheerleaders may feel pressure to fit in with their team and may experience bullying or exclusion from their peers.

Coaches and team leaders must prioritize safety, create a positive and supportive team environment, and provide resources for mental health support if needed to support cheerleaders’ mental health. Cheerleaders can also benefit from prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, and, if necessary, seeking help from trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals.


Is professional cheerleading a promising career?

Professional cheerleading can be a rewarding career for those who enjoy the sport and possess the necessary skills and qualifications. It is important to note, however, that professional cheerleading is a highly competitive and demanding field with limited opportunities.

Professional cheerleaders appear at various events, including sporting events, corporate functions, and television appearances. They must have exceptional stunting, dancing, and tumbling abilities, as well as a high level of physical fitness, coordination, and showmanship. In addition, they may be required to attend rehearsals, travel frequently, and maintain a specific appearance and weight.

The pay and perks of professional cheerleading can vary considerably depending on the team, location, and level of competition. Some professional cheerleaders are paid a low salary, while others receive higher pay and benefits, such as healthcare and travel expenses.

 Image Source: Twitter

Image Source: Twitter

It is essential to remember that professional cheerleading is a physically demanding career that may have a limited lifespan due to the risk of injury and the high level of competition. Professional cheerleaders may also face body image issues and the pressure to maintain a specific appearance and weight.

Overall, professional cheerleading can be a fulfilling and rewarding career for those who are passionate about the sport and have the necessary skills and qualifications. However, before pursuing it as a career, it is critical to consider the demands and potential challenges of the profession carefully.

So, don’t be afraid to pursue this exciting and dynamic career if you have what it takes to be a cheerleader. When it comes to the possibilities that cheerleading offers, the sky’s the limit, pick up that cheerleading pom and bring your A-game to the arena and show them what you’ve got!


What factors influence the salary of NFL cheerleaders?

The salary of NFL cheerleaders can be influenced by factors such as market size, team popularity, and the specific organization they work for. Some terms may offer higher compensation packages than others based on various financial considerations.

Do all NFL cheerleaders earn the same amount?

No, the earnings of NFL cheerleaders are not standardized. While there may be a base pay range, the total earning can vary depending on additional appearances, performance, bonuses, and individual contracts.

Which NFL team has the most popular cheerleading team?

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, commonly known as the “Cowboys Cheerleaders,” are often regarded as one of the most famous and recognizable cheerleading teams in the NFL. They have gained significant popularity and media attention since their inception in 1972. They even have their reality TV series.

How much do the “Cowboy Cheerleaders” make?

The base for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders is about $15-$20 per hour or $500 per match. Annually they receive $75,000. In addition, if a cheerleader is attractive or has a certain fan base, they can earn money through advertisements and attending events.

Are there opportunities for NFL cheerleaders to earn additional income?

Cheerleaders may have opportunities to earn additional income through appearances at promotional events, community outreach programs, charity functions, and other related activities. These additional appearances often come with separate compensations.

Do all NFL teams have a cheerleading squad?

No, only 26 out of 32 NFL clubs have their cheerleading squad perform on the pitch in their home games. The decision on the teams that don’t get to have a cheerleading squad depends on the season’s setup.

Are there any ongoing discussions or initiatives regarding the earning and treatment of NFL cheerleaders?

There have been ongoing discussions and initiatives regarding the earnings and treatment of NFL cheerleaders. Some cheerleaders advocated for improved compensation, better working conditions, and increased recognition for their contributions.


Cheerleading is more than just a sideline activity or a high school pastime. It has evolved into a professional career that demands dedication, skill, and athleticism. With its combination of dance, gymnastics, stunts, and crowd-pleasing performances, cheerleading offers a thrilling and rewarding career path for those passionate about it. Do you have any more questions? Tell us in the comments below!