The Paycheck: How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Make?

John Rizzo


NFL cheerleaders are an integral part of the game-day experience, captivating audiences with their high-energy performances and unwavering team spirit. 

However, the financial aspect of their profession often remains shrouded in mystery. In this blog post, we dive deep into how much do NFL cheerleaders make for their dedication and hard work.

Many fans may wonder if cheerleading for one of the most prominent sports leagues in the world comes with a substantial paycheck or if it’s more about the passion for the game. 

We’ll explore the average earnings, factors influencing compensation, and the controversies surrounding pay and working conditions. 

Whether you’re a devoted football fan or just curious about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the NFL, it will provide you with a comprehensive idea of the financial side of NFL cheerleading. Stay focused. 

Responsibilities of NFL Cheerleaders

NFL cheerleaders have several important responsibilities, including:

Game Day Performance

NFL cheerleaders are primarily known for their performances during games. They entertain the crowd with choreographed dance routines, cheers, and stunts. 

Their energy and enthusiasm help boost the spirit of the fans and players.

Community Engagement

Many NFL cheerleaders are actively involved in community outreach programs and charitable events. 

They represent their team and the league at various community functions, such as charity fundraisers, hospital visits, and youth programs, promoting a positive image for the team.

Appearance and Fitness

Maintaining a high level of physical fitness and a polished appearance is crucial for NFL cheerleaders. 

They are expected to adhere to strict grooming and fitness standards, including regular workouts, healthy diets, and maintaining a professional and glamorous image.

Rehearsals and Training

NFL cheerleaders spend a significant amount of time in rehearsals and training to perfect their routines. They must commit to rigorous practice schedules to ensure they deliver flawless performances on game days.

Fan Interaction

Cheerleaders often engage with fans before, during, and after games. They sign autographs, take photos, and interact with fans on social media, creating a strong connection between the team and its supporters.

In addition to these primary responsibilities, NFL cheerleaders may also participate in promotional events, and media appearances, and travel with the team for away games and events.

How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Make?

NFL Cheerleaders Make

The compensation for NFL cheerleaders can vary depending on the team, location, and their level of experience and seniority. Here are some facts in the next phase below: 

Game Pay

On average, NFL cheerleaders make approximately $150 per game. This amount can vary from team to team, and some may pay a bit more or less.


Cheerleaders also make around $50 to $75 per appearance, which can include events, promotional activities, and community outreach.

Leadership Roles

If a cheerleader advances to a leadership position within their cheerleading team, such as becoming a captain or squad leader, they can earn significantly more money. 

In some cases, salaries for these leadership roles can range up to $75,000 per year.

It’s important to note that while these figures provide a general idea of the compensation for NFL cheerleaders, the actual earnings can vary widely based on the specific team, market, and individual circumstances.

Variations in Compensation of the NFL Cheerleaders Among Teams

Compensation for NFL cheerleaders can indeed vary among teams due to several factors, including the market size, team popularity, and management decisions. 

Here are some variations you might find among NFL cheerleading squads:

Market Size

Teams located in larger markets or cities with higher living costs may offer higher compensation to their cheerleaders to help them cover expenses such as transportation and housing. 

Cheerleaders in smaller markets may receive lower pay.

Team Popularity and Success

Teams with a more significant fan following or those that have a successful track record on the field may have more resources to allocate to their cheerleading squads. 

This can result in higher pay and better opportunities for cheerleaders.

Additional Perks

Some teams may offer additional perks and benefits to their cheerleaders, such as health insurance, gym memberships, and access to team events and facilities. These extras can add value to the compensation package.

Local Economy

The local economy of the team’s city can also influence cheerleader compensation. Teams in cities with a high cost of living may adjust salaries accordingly.

Team Policies

Each NFL team has its own policies and guidelines regarding cheerleader compensation. These policies can vary widely and may be influenced by team ownership and management.

Seniority and Experience

Experienced and long-serving cheerleaders may earn more than newcomers due to their expertise, leadership roles, and loyalty to the team.

Part-Time Status

It’s important to note that most NFL cheerleaders are considered part-time employees, and their pay reflects this status. They often have other jobs or commitments outside of cheerleading.

Legal Factors

In recent years, some cheerleaders have taken legal action to challenge low pay and working conditions. As a result, some teams have adjusted their compensation and employment practices.

Due to these variations, it’s advisable for individuals interested in becoming NFL cheerleaders to research and contact specific teams to inquire about their compensation packages and expectations.

Factors Influencing the Slalry of NFL Cheerleaders

Factors Influencing the Slalry of NFL Cheerleaders

The salary of NFL cheerleaders can be influenced by several factors:

Team and Market

The NFL team and its location play a significant role in determining cheerleader salaries. Teams in larger markets with higher revenue streams generally have more financial resources to allocate to their cheerleading squads. 

Therefore, cheerleaders for teams in major cities may receive higher salaries than those in smaller markets.

Experience and Seniority

Cheerleaders with more experience or those who have been with a team for several seasons often earn more than rookies. As they gain seniority and take on leadership roles within the squad, their compensation may increase.

Leadership Roles

Cheerleaders who are selected as captains, squad leaders, or team captains typically receive higher salaries due to their added responsibilities and leadership roles. 

They may also be tasked with mentoring and coaching other squad members.

Additional Duties

Some cheerleaders are required to perform additional duties beyond game day appearances and rehearsals. 

These duties could include community outreach, promotional events, and appearances at sponsor events. Cheerleaders who take on these extra responsibilities may receive higher compensation.

Legal and Labor Regulations

Legal factors can influence cheerleader salaries. In recent years, some cheerleaders have taken legal action to challenge low pay and poor working conditions. 

As a result, some teams have adjusted their compensation and employment practices to comply with labor regulations and address these concerns.

Negotiation Skills

Like in any profession, a cheerleader’s ability to negotiate their salary can impact their earnings. 

Effective negotiation skills can result in higher compensation packages, especially for those in leadership positions or with unique skills and talents.

It’s important to note that the salary of NFL cheerleaders can still be relatively modest compared to other professionals in the entertainment industry.

Controversies Surrounding Low Pay and Working Conditions of NFL Cheerleaders

NFL cheerleaders have faced controversies and legal challenges related to low pay and working conditions in recent years. Some of the key issues and controversies include:

Low Wages

Many NFL cheerleaders have reported receiving low wages, especially considering the time and effort required for their duties. 

Some cheerleaders have claimed to earn less than the minimum wage when factoring in the hours spent rehearsing, performing, and attending mandatory appearances.

Unpaid Work

Cheerleaders have alleged that they are often required to perform unpaid work, such as attending promotional events, charity functions, and rehearsals without compensation. 

This practice has been a subject of legal disputes, as it may violate labor laws.

Strict Grooming Standards

Cheerleaders are typically expected to adhere to strict grooming standards, which can include maintaining a specific appearance, hairstyle, and body weight. 

These standards have been criticized for being overly demanding and contributing to body image issues among cheerleaders.

Lack of Employment Benefits

Many NFL cheerleaders are considered part-time employees, which means they often do not receive employment benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off. 

This lack of benefits can be a significant issue, especially for those who rely on cheerleading as their primary source of income.

Legal Actions

In response to these issues, some cheerleaders have taken legal action against NFL teams and the league. Lawsuits have been filed alleging wage theft, unfair labor practices, and violations of labor laws. 

These legal actions have prompted some teams to reevaluate their compensation and working conditions for cheerleaders.

Changing Policies

In recent years, several NFL teams have revised their cheerleader compensation policies and working conditions in response to public scrutiny and legal challenges. 

Some teams have increased pay, offered employment benefits, and restructured contracts to address concerns about low pay and unpaid work.

Public Awareness

Controversies surrounding cheerleader pay and working conditions have raised public awareness about the challenges these individuals face. 

Advocacy groups and media coverage have shed light on the issue, leading to increased scrutiny of NFL teams and their treatment of cheerleaders.

It’s important to note that these controversies and issues are not uniform across all NFL teams, as policies and conditions can vary widely from one organization to another.


What is the average salary for NFL cheerleaders?

On average, NFL cheerleaders make around $150 per game and $50 to $75 per appearance. However, compensation can vary widely among teams and may increase for those in leadership roles or with more experience.

Do NFL cheerleaders receive additional benefits like health insurance or retirement plans?

Many NFL cheerleaders are considered part-time employees and often do not receive employment benefits like health insurance or retirement plans, although some teams may provide certain perks or benefits.

How can NFL cheerleaders increase their earnings?

Cheerleaders can increase their earnings by advancing to leadership positions within their squad, taking on additional responsibilities like community outreach, and negotiating their contracts effectively. 

Experienced cheerleaders often earn more than rookies.

Are NFL cheerleaders paid during rehearsals and practice sessions?

Rehearsals and practice sessions are typically included in the overall compensation package for NFL cheerleaders. 

However, some legal disputes have arisen over unpaid practice time, leading some teams to adjust their policies.

Can NFL cheerleaders pursue cheerleading as a full-time career?

While some NFL cheerleaders have pursued careers in dance, entertainment, or fitness training, most consider cheerleading a part-time endeavor due to modest pay. 

Many cheerleaders have other jobs or commitments outside of their roles with the team.

Wrapping Up

NFL cheerleaders bring an undeniable energy and charisma to the football field, but the question of how much they make often lingers. As we conclude our exploration, it’s clear that the compensation for NFL cheerleaders is a multifaceted issue. 

On average, they earn modest amounts per game and appearance, but their pay can vary widely among teams and locations. Despite the challenges, many cheerleaders pursue this passion-driven career for the love of dance, community involvement, and supporting their teams. 

The recent controversies and legal actions have shed light on the need for fair pay and improved working conditions. While some progress has been made, the financial landscape for NFL cheerleaders remains a topic of ongoing discussion and change. 

As fans continue to cheer for their favorite teams, it’s crucial to remember and appreciate the dedication and hard work of these talented individuals who enhance the game-day experience. Best wishes. 

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn