Cheerleaders have been a part of the NFL gameday experience since 1954. Today, 26 of the 32 NFL teams have cheerleaders performing during their home games.
The Dallas Cowboys have the most famous cheerleading group in the NFL. They even had a reality TV show that followed the auditioning process. The group has over 500,000 followers on Instagram.
While being an NFL cheerleader looks like a glamorous gig, the job takes a lot of hard work and dedication to perfect. So how much do NFL cheerleaders make each season?
What is an NFL cheerleader’s salary?
Now it may surprise you to learn that NFL cheerleaders are not paid very well. In fact, until recently some teams were paying their cheer teams less than the minimum wage.
A spate of lawsuits over the past few years has helped raise pay for NFL cheerleaders, but it still pales in comparison to the players and other NFL staff.
According to various publications, the common rate of pay for NFL cheerleaders is $150 each game day and $50-75 per public appearance. So for the average cheerleader their pay directly relates to how many appearances they make.
One former cheerleader revealed to Cosmopolitan that she made just $3000 during a season but it was far less after taking into account manicures, makeup and personal trainers. Some NFL teams make their cheerleaders pay to audition as well.
Head cheerleaders or very experienced NFL cheerleaders have been reported to make as high as $75,000 per season but this seems like an outlier to the average performer.
How does this compare to other NFL salaries?
The average NFL player makes around $2 million per season, while head coaches make $7 million.
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Maybe a more apt comparison would be with team mascots. NFL mascots earn up to $25,000 per season which is much higher than their cheerleading colleagues. Incredibly, NFL waterboys can earn up to $53,000 a year.