How much do NFL cheerleaders make?

Cheerleaders in the NFL generally make just above minimum wage for their time spent preparing and practising. On game days cheerleaders will make anywhere from $100-$200 dollars.

The pay of NFL cheerleaders is decided by each team individually meaning the league has no say in how much cheerleaders get paid.

This has resulted in pay for cheerleaders being different on each team. One common theme amongst these teams is that they don’t pay their cheerleaders very much.

Cheerleaders have been vastly underpaid in the NFL for quite some time. In fact, there have been many lawsuits against NFL teams due to how much they pay their cheerleaders.

A San Fransisco 49ers cheerleader filed a lawsuit after being paid a total of $1,250 throughout an entire season. Based on the number of hours she worked this worked out to under three dollars per hour.

In 2014 the Oakland Raider cheerleaders known as the Raiderettes won their lawsuit against the team and were awarded 1.25 million dollars.

This lawsuit was based on the fact that the cheerleaders were paid below minimum wage throughout their time cheerleading. Not only was this cheap it was illegal for the owners to pay this low wage which is why the lawsuit was won.

There have been several other incidents in which teams were forced to change their wages for cheerleaders due to it being below minimum wage. Teams like the Chargers and Raiders made the change, while some teams such as the bills got rid of their cheerleading squad all together.

If you want to learn about how much NFL teams play employees other than cheerleaders see how much waterboys make in football.

How often are NFL cheerleaders working?

Most NFL cheerleaders are working anywhere from fifteen to thirty hours a week during the season.

One thing many football fans don’t know is that most cheerleaders have other full-time jobs. That being said these athletes still have a lot of work to do in order to keep their cheerleading position.

Cheerleaders must practice their dance routines with their teammates several times a week.

They are also going to have to perform at each home game. The NFL has 17 games a year 8 or 9 of which are going to be played at home. Cheerleaders only perform at home games.

If a team makes the playoffs the cheerleaders may perform at one to three more games in the postseason.

On top of these performances, cheerleaders will also do public appearances similar to the football players. This generally means showing up to charity drives or team events.

Typically NFL cheerleaders are paid minimum wage when working these events.

Additionally, cheerleaders may also be part of promotional products such as calendars or tee shirts. These cheerleaders may have to fly out in order to have photographs taken for these events.

Cheerleaders do not receive a cut of the profits when these products are sold.

On top of all the hourly work cheerleaders do, they also spent many hours getting to this position. Similar to athletes in the NFL cheerleaders must do years of training before they get to this point.

Almost all cheerleaders are very skilled dancers who have had years of experience.

Why are cheerleaders paid so little?

Now that you know cheerleaders typically make minimum wage you may be wondering why they are paid so little.

The reason that cheerleaders are paid such small wages is that there are many qualified dancers and performers willing to do this job.

Even when NFL teams were paying cheerleaders below minimum wage the competition to make these cheerleading squads was incredibly fierce.

For many dancers out there cheerleading on an NFL team is a lifelong dream. It doesn’t matter who you are talking to if you mention you cheerleading in the NFL they are going to be impressed.

The accolades that come with being an NFL cheerleader mean that many are willing to accept poor work conditions to take this job. The owners of NFL teams know this and take advantage by offering incredibly low wages.

The other reason that cheerleaders are not paid very well is that they do not bring a ton of value to the team.

Though cheerleading can be very entertaining the vast majority of football fans are there to watch football.

In fact, there are several NFL teams that do not have cheerleading squads at all and your typical NFL fan would be hard-pressed to guess which teams those were.

Nowadays you do not see cheerleaders very often during football games and when you do it is usually a short clip between plays.

NFL teams likely believe they can spend that money more effectively in other areas.

Despite cheerleaders being talented and having a tough job, there isn’t a great reason for them to be paid large amounts of money by NFL teams.


I hope you enjoyed our guide to how much cheerleaders are paid in the NFL. If you have any more questions about this article please reach out in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more see our guides to who makes more baseball players vs football players or who makes more basketball vs football players.

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