September 25, 2023
This article explores the pay structure of NFL cheerleaders, how they are compensated for their hard work, and what determines their salaries. It also provides an insight into the contractual obligations of NFL cheerleaders and the cost of being a cheerleader during the football season.


Every football lover knows the allure of NFL cheerleaders. They provide the much-needed energy and entertainment on the field with their energetic dance steps, colorful outfits, and stunning physiques. But what about their paychecks? This article will dive into the often-misunderstood topic of how much money NFL cheerleaders make.

The Secret Salaries of NFL Cheerleaders: How Much Do They Really Make?

The pay structure of NFL cheerleaders has always been shrouded in secrecy, especially when compared to the high salaries of the NFL players. While NFL players can earn up to millions of dollars a season, cheerleader salaries aren’t even close. However, cheerleaders are not paid solely for their performances, but instead are compensated in different ways.

Unlike other sports leagues, such as the NBA or the NHL, cheerleaders in the NFL are not employed by the league franchise. Instead, they work for the team owners through either a third-party contractor or a subsidiary. This gives team owners a way to control cheerleaders’ earnings without having to classify them as full-time employees.

When it comes to comparison, cheerleader salaries are minimal when compared to those of the players. According to the report released by Forbes, the average salary for a cheerleader in the NFL is between $9 to $15 per hour, which can tally up to a little over $3,000 per season.

Debunking Myths About NFL Cheerleader Salaries: What You Need to Know

One of the myths surrounding NFL cheerleaders’ salary structure is that they are paid in experience and exposure. While this may be true to a certain extent, cheerleaders are not going to pay their bills by such intangible compensation. The truth is that the cheerleaders are paid through sponsorships, game-day performances, and private events such as corporate parties or charity events.

Moreover, the NFL is notorious for its lack of salary transparency for cheerleaders. Cheerleaders have voiced their concerns about this issue, as they want to have a clear understanding of how their pay is determined. A lawsuit filed by former cheerleaders indicated that they received fees that are below the minimum wage limit and hardly any compensation for their overtime. This lack of transparency makes financial planning difficult and unfeasible for cheerleaders.

Behind the Pom-Poms: An Inside Look at the Compensation of NFL Cheerleaders

Being an NFL cheerleader comes with hidden financial costs. Cheerleaders are required to pay fees for uniforms, hair, and makeup. These costs can reach thousands of dollars each season, with some teams asking their cheerleaders to purchase new uniforms after a short period.

Cheerleaders also have several expenses during the season, such as travel costs to attend games, fitness equipment, and medical and insurance bills. If a cheerleader is injured while performing, it is difficult for them to achieve reimbursement due to their non-employee classification.

Despite the financial burdens, cheerleaders can enjoy some monetary incentives during games. For instance, a cheering Houston Texans fan allegedly paid the cheerleaders up to $1,000 per game as a tip.

Breaking Down Pay Structures: How NFL Cheerleaders Earn Their Salaries

NFL cheerleaders are either full-time or part-time. Full-time cheerleaders earn more than part-time ones but, as expected, are required to offer more of their time and dedication. Cheerleaders receive pay for every home and away game they attend, and the type of game, home versus away, can also determine the income they earn.

Aside from game-day pay, cheerleaders can earn a salary through sponsorships and endorsements. They are more likely to gain more endorsements if they become more prominent in their local community. Cheerleaders can also receive multiple additional opportunities to earn an income, such as selling calendars, conducting meet-and-greets, and acting as ambassadors for the NFL and their respective franchises.

Several factors can affect cheerleaders’ pay, such as their experience, tenure, and ability to market themselves.

From Tryouts to Paychecks: Understanding the Financial Reality of NFL Cheerleading

The selection process for an NFL cheerleader is rigorous and rigorous. After a competitive audition process, cheerleaders sign a contract that specifies their responsibilities, such as the number of practice sessions they will attend, games to perform, photo sessions to participate in, and charity events to work at.

While some cheerleaders continue to have full-time jobs outside of their practice and game schedule, the combination of being in multiple places at once can pose a considerable strain on many of them. Often, the pay they receive isn’t worth the time and dedication needed of them as cheerleaders.

A Day in the Life of an NFL Cheerleader: How Much They Get Paid and What They Do

While cheerleaders are often seen on the sidelines during games, they have a lot of responsibilities beyond dancing. Cheerleaders are also expected to participate in sponsored events, charity functions, and promotional appearances. They usually practice for three to four days each week, which leaves minimal time to have a job outside of football season.

After breaking down the cost associated with these activities, cheerleaders are paid much lower than most minimum-wage jobs. While the job can be seen as glamorously, it undoubtedly does not pay the same as a competitive minimum-wage job. Cheerleading can also result in physical and emotional strain, which can often go unrecognized beyond the sidelines.


The NFL cheerleaders’ pay often receives a lot of scrutiny, with many arguing that their income falls incredibly short of what they deserve. The article discussed the various sources of income for NFL cheerleaders, including sponsorships, game-day performances, and private events such as corporate parties or charity events. However, transparency on NFL cheerleader pay is still a problem that needs addressing. While NFL players earn high amounts and have many endorsements and sponsorships, cheerleaders are denied the same rights. Cheerleaders’ salaries and expenses are harder to track and can often cost more than their paycheck.

Further investigation into the drawbacks of the existing NFL franchise pay structures, such as their policies on payroll and benefits, is needed to ensure cheerleaders receive fair compensation for their hard work.

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