The Reality of NFL Cheerleaders’ Salary

The Reality of NFL Cheerleaders' Salary
The Reality of NFL Cheerleaders' Salary
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This article will explore the complex issue of NFL cheerleaders’ salaries and investigate the reasons why these skilled and hardworking individuals are typically underpaid. Through analyzing the economics of the NFL industry and scrutinizing the legal loopholes that allow teams to take advantage of their cheerleaders, we will explore the truth about the glamorous image of NFL cheerleaders and bring attention to the unfairness of the NFL Cheerleaders’ salary.

The Reality of NFL Cheerleaders' Salary
The Reality of NFL Cheerleaders’ Salary (Image Source: Sportscasting)

Many people view NFL cheerleaders as a representation of physical beauty, poise, and athleticism. They are frequently observed performing impressive routines on the sidelines during games, supporting their favorite teams, and producing a lively ambiance that improves the overall fan experience. Despite the notion that NFL cheerleading is a glamorous and desirable profession, in reality, the NFL Cheerleaders’ salary is bare minimum despite the extensive time and effort they dedicate to their profession. 

NFL Cheerleaders’ Salary & Their Duties

It is the role of NFL cheerleaders to lead the crowd in cheers and chants during football games to bolster their team’s morale. They are also expected to showcase their routines during halftime and other notable events. The remuneration for this task also forms the part of the NFL Cheerleader’s salary.

Apart from these tasks, they may have to participate in promotional events and make appearances in public. Generally, the salary of NFL cheerleaders is an hourly basis, with payments ranging from $75 to $150 per game.

NFL Cheerleaders’ Salary & Job description

The primary role of an NFL cheerleader is to lead cheers and chants at football games, motivating and supporting their team. In some cases, cheerleaders may be required to represent their team at public events within schools and communities. Along with cheering, they may also be expected to learn and perform intricate dance routines during games. 

This additional work routine is quite intricate and rigorous involving extreme work conditions but the salary of NFL Cheerleaders in lieu of these extra work and over-time working hours does no justice to the efforts and hard work these professionals performers put in.

Additionally, cheerleaders may assist in preparing their team for games or public appearances by selecting appropriate outfits, applying makeup, and styling hair.

Hard Truth behind the Glamour: Meager Salary of NFL Cheerleaders

The National Football League (NFL) is a multi-billion dollar company and many of its players are among the highest paid professionals in the world. The best players can earn millions of dollars a year thanks to lucrative contracts, endorsements and business opportunities. But not all athletes who participate in the sport experience this. Despite being an essential component of the game, the NFL Cheerleader’s salary is in peanuts as compared to the players.

The routines and dances that cheerleaders execute need a high level of talent, even if they may not be viewed as athletes in the conventional sense. They are crucial in boosting their groups’ performance and fostering an exciting and energetic environment at games. However, the salary of NFL Cheerleaders is not nearly as much as the players. The average salary of NFL Cheerleader is $150 per game. With a maximum of $2,250 per squad per game, the NFL Cheerleader’s salary sums up to a total of $5,700 per season.

On average, the NFL Cheerleader’s salary is between $15 and $20 per hour, which accumulates the salary of NFL Cheerleader’s salary to a yearly sum of around $75000. The NFL Cheerleader’s salary is calculated on hourly basis, which also includes the match fees of around $5000 per person for the nine or ten games they perform at. This in total forms the part of NFL Cheerleader’s salary.

The NFL Cheerleaders’ salary depends on several factors such as their level of experience, the team they work for, and the state they reside in. The median salary of NFL cheerleaders is reported to be $52,570 per year. However, the salary of NFL Cheerleader at the top 10% of sums up to $124,000 annually.

NFL Cheerleader Salary Vary Across Different Teams

The salary of NFL Cheerleaders is not subject to state or federal minimum wage laws as they are privately contracted. Each team determines the salaries of the NFL cheerleaders independently. 

However, six NFL teams, including the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, currently do not have cheerleading teams. There may be several factors responsible for this and may differ from team to team, and includes factors such as climate, fan preferences, or other logistical considerations which determines the salary of NFL Cheerleaders. While some teams, such as the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants, do not have official cheerleading squads, they may have unofficial spirit squads that provide support during home games. 

NFL Cheerleader’s salary is meager

The salary of NFL cheerleaders is shrouded in secrecy, with many teams either not responding or declining to provide any information on the matter. Those who do, give only vague details such as a payment schedule for rehearsals, home games, and promotional appearances. 

One reason for this secrecy could be fear of lawsuits as several legal actions have been filed in recent years claiming that teams violated wage laws as the salary of the NFL Cheerleaders is   below minimum wage. Additionally, some teams may be keeping quiet about NFL cheerleader’s salary because it is embarrassingly low. 

Irrespective of this, the salary of NFL Cheerleaders is quite well nowadays, with a typical NFL Cheerleader salary between $75 and $150 per game and about $50 an hour for special appearances. But most professional NFL Cheerleaders’ salary amounts only a few thousand dollars per season, with an average of around $10 or less per hour over the course of the season. This is sharply in contrast with the average annual salary of over $2 million for NFL players, and the $14 billion in revenue generated by the NFL per year.

NFL cheerleaders’ salary – Demand for increase 

NFL Cheerleaders over the past few years have filed multiple lawsuits that mainly involve the issues such as the low salaries of NFL Cheerleaders, NFL Cheerleaders’ improper working conditions, and general treatment within the league.

Some of the more prominent cases include Bailey v. San Francisco (2014), Lacy T. v. Oakland Raiders (2014), Davis v. New York Jets (2018), and Manouchcar v. Washington Football Team (2020). In each of these cases, the meager salary of NFL Cheerleaders is the major issue and also the discriminatory and/or hostile work environments. 

The cases were settled for undisclosed amounts, except for Lacy T. v. Oakland Raiders, which was settled for $1.25 million. These lawsuits have brought attention to the way NFL cheerleaders are treated and have led to more oversight of the league’s policies and practices related to cheerleading. 


To sum up, NFL cheerleaders are often depicted as glamorous and privileged performers, but the truth about the NFL Cheerleaders’ salaries and working conditions is far from that perception. Many NFL Cheerleaders salary is bare minimum, some even earning less than that, and they have to cover their own expenses and audition costs. Irrespective of these obstacles, NLF Cheerleaders are expected to maintain certain appearances and behavior and are met with consequences if they even try to speak about the kind of ill-treatment they are meted out with.  

The lawsuits filed by NFL cheerleaders have brought in light the harsh reality behind the alluring masquerade and unveiling the blatant issue of gender disparity when it comes to NFL Cheerleaders’ bare minimum salary. This inequity exists across industries, but there is a growing movement to recognize and address it. 

Still, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the value and contribution of his NFL cheerleaders to sports and their respective teams.


How much do NFL cheerleaders make? 

NFL cheerleaders earn between $75 to $150 per game, depending on the team and location.

Are NFL cheerleaders paid minimum wage? 

There have been several cases where NFL Cheerleaders aren’t paid minimum wages, as they are recognized as independent contractors and not employees. This has been a great point of concern in the legal matters filed recently. 

What are the various working conditions that NFL cheerleaders have to deal with? 

NFL cheerleaders may have long working hours at a stretch and with barely or no break or rest periods.

Are there any lawsuits filed by NFL cheerleaders? 

Indeed, there have been numerous litigations filed by NFL cheerleaders over the past few years which majorly deals with the issues such NFL cheerleader’s salary, work conditions, and the overall treatment of cheerleaders within the league. 

What is the status of the ongoing lawsuit filed by a former cheerleader against the Washington Football Team? 

The lawsuit filed by former cheerleader Manouchcar against the Washington Football Team is ongoing. She allegedly spoke about her experience of sexual harassment and facing hostile work environment.

Are NFL cheerleaders given the same benefits as other employees? 

No, NFL cheerleaders are often not given the same benefits as other employees, such as healthcare and workers’ compensation.

What kind of discrimination have NFL cheerleaders faced? 

All forms of discrimination from wearing revealing outfits, to being told not to speak to the players, and being subjected to sexual harassment, NFL cheerleaders face all sorts of discrimination hampering their work.

Do all NFL teams have cheerleaders? 

No, not all NFL teams have cheerleaders. Some teams choose dance teams or mascots as means of entertainment.

Where is the future of NFL cheerleaders heading?

The future of NFL cheerleading is uncertain as the value and status of cheerleading in professional sports continues to be debated. But the lawsuit filed by an NFL cheerleader has sparked a significant debate about the treatment of cheerleaders, and could change how cheerleaders are perceived and valued within the industry.

Twinkle jain

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