How Much Do Cowboys Cheerleaders Make A Year?

With their fantastic choreography and cheerful dispositions, the girls of NFL cheerleading squads, such as those of the Dallas Cowboys, are always the focal point of cameras and people off the pitch. But have you ever wondered “how much do Cowboys cheerleaders make in a year”?

The answer may surprise you!

If you’re an up-and-coming cheerleader who aspires to join the formation of well-known teams like the Dallas Cowboys, or you’re simply interested in the financial side of the NFL … this article is for you. We’ll be looking at the salaries and compensations of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders today!

How Much Do Cowboys Cheerleaders Make Annually?

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most successful teams in NFL history. In total, they have won five Super Bowls and eight conference championships. It stands to reason that all of their personnel – cheerleaders included – are paid well.

And indeed, cheerleaders who work in the Cowboys’ squad (called the “American Sweethearts”) are paid far better than others in the industry.

Cowboy cheerleaders make around $15 to $20 per hour or around $500 per match. By doing napkin math, that adds up to a respectable $75,000 a year.

If we were to count their salary by seasons, then with 14 games, they’d make a season with about $7,000 in the bank.

Check more: How Much Do NBA Cheerleaders Make A Year?

How Professional and Junior Cheerleaders Get Paid?

According to many sources, the $75,000 per year salary is only applicable to senior cheerleaders.

Junior members of the team work for far less at around $12 an hour, or about $400 per match. The pay used to be a lot lower and close to minimum wage ($8 an hour), but the Dallas Cowboys has revamped its cheerleading squad’s salary after a lawsuit was initiated by the team.

Professional cheerleaders may also receive additional benefits such as travel expenses, medical insurance, gym memberships, and apparel discounts.

Meanwhile, rookie cheerleaders are usually unpaid volunteers and may occasionally be provided with small monetary honorariums or occasional scholarship opportunities.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders - DCC

Former cheerleaders’ lawsuit against Cowboys

As we mentioned earlier, cheerleaders, especially junior team members, don’t always receive such high pay. In the past, cheerleaders barely managed to make minimum wages at $8 an hour.

Worse, they’re typically pressured to come to the game early and prepare for a few hours beforehand. They also have to participate in rehearsals and the like. But all these hours aren’t clocked, and they’re not paid overtime for their effort.

The situation was so bad that cheerleaders were paid less than the Cowboys’ mascot at one point, which makes $25 an hour.

This is why cheerleaders banded together and sued the Cowboys for “wage theft”. There have been numerous such suits throughout the year. Fortunately, many of these suits were successful, leading to major pay changes.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders vs Average NLF Cheerleaders’ Salary

It’s a well-known fact among cheerleaders that a gig at high-profile teams like the Dallas Cowboys will get you further than working for less famous teams.

The NFL Cowboys Cheerleaders have a competitive salary range of anywhere from $15/hour to $30-40/bar. Meanwhile, the average NFL cheerleaders typically earn a flat hourly rate of around $10, which is very near minimum wage.

NFL cheerleaders also don’t receive overtime, which is a stark contrast to the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, who now receive overtime for full seasons and performance bonuses for playoff or Super Bowl appearances.

Highest-paid NFL cheerleaders


Hourly Salary Per Game Fees Annual Salary
Dallas Cowboy $15-20 $500 $75,000
Arizona Cardinals $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Atlanta Falcons $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Baltimore Ravens $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Buffalo Jills $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Carolina Topcats $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Chicago Honey Bears $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Cincinnati Ben–Gals $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Denver Broncos $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Detroit Lions $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Green Bay Packers $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Houston Texans $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Indianapolis Colts $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Jacksonville ROAR $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Kansas City Chiefs $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Las Vegas Raiderettes $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Los Angeles Rams $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Miami Dolphins $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Minnesota Vikings $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
New England Patriots $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Philadelphia Eagles $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Seahawks Dancers $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Tennessee Titans $15 – $20 $500 $75,000
Washington Redskins $15 – $20 $500 $75,000


More Facts About NFL Cheerleaders’ Salary

Although NFL cheerleaders may look like it’s a well-paid job, it’s actually far from it. Here are a couple of facts (some fun, some not) about NFL cheerleaders’ salaries.

They’re Paid Less Than NFL Waterboys

For the uninitiated, waterboys are a part of the training staff of an NFL team, and their main duty is quite peculiar: pouring water into the mouths of over-exerted football players while they’re playing or training. Waterboys also give out towels to the players and dispose of the used towels afterward.

That sounds like a far simpler job than cheerleading, which involves long, complicated, and sometimes even dangerous choreography!

But the truth is that cheerleaders are paid far less than waterboys (at least junior team members). Junior cheerleaders are only paid around $20,000 a year, while waterboys can make up to $53,000.

Because of this exact reason, cheerleaders have started so many lawsuits against the league and their host teams. Cheerleaders are also commonly called the worst-paid professionals in pro-level sports.

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NFL Cheerleaders Earn Less than NFL Matchday Mascots

Not just waterboys, NFL cheerleaders make less than the teams’ mascots, too.

Mascots have roughly the same function as cheerleaders: they’re there to hype up their home team and the fans. So, occasionally, you’ll see the mascot collaborating with the cheerleaders during their workouts.

But despite this, while NFL cheerleaders are paid only about $20,000 a year, the average NFL mascots make up to $25,000 a year.

Why Do NFL Cheerleaders Earn So Little?

There are many reasons behind the low pay of cheerleaders despite the demanding working environment and the required skill level.

Cheerleaders are usually independent contractors rather than full-time employees of a team. At best, they’re considered part-time or seasonal employees.

As a result, the teams aren’t legally obligated to pay them per state or federal minimum wage laws. They are also not obligated to provide cheerleaders with benefits such as healthcare and retirement plans.

Another factor that goes into it is that cheerleading is considered by most people, from managers to the audience, as a “sideshow” to the actual game. It serves more as an amenity than being a part of the football experience.

So, using that logic, teams have been trying to pay their cheerleaders as little as possible for years.

Nothing a well-built lawsuit couldn’t fix, though! Many have been filed over the past few years. And as they have successfully turned this mindset around, now, cheerleaders are beginning to be paid a lot better than they did in the past.

Requirement & Qualifications To Be A Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

Joining the rank and file of the American Sweethearts isn’t easy. Other than having excellent dance skills and athleticism, you’re also expected to fill a number of other demands.

Dallas Cowboy cheerleader training

Dallas Cowboy cheerleader training

To get into the team, you must pass a preliminary round first. During this round, other than your application, you’ll also be asked to send in two videos: a 20-second introduction video and a 60-second freestyle dancing video.

If the videos are up to code, they’ll send you to an Audition Prep Class, where you’ll learn all you need to know about the auditioning process. You’ll also be trained by former cheerleaders on techniques and skills that you’ll need to make it through the audition.

The better you learn all of the skills taught here and the closer you listen to the advice of the instructors, the higher your chance of passing the audition will be.

Weight & Height

It’s worth noting that there is no specific height or weight limit for a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. They only wrote in their guideline that you should “look good in dancewear”.

During the preliminaries, they will perform a series of checks on you and measure your body fat percentage and weight. Don’t stress out about this part too much. So long as you keep yourself in shape, you should be able to get a pass pretty easily.

Ideally, you should also have the weight and height of the average dancer, which is anywhere from 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-8 tall and weigh 85 to 130 pounds.

Don’t worry if you don’t meet these requirements, though. Just send in your application. Maybe you’ll get lucky!


Age-wise, you’re only expected to be older than 18 years old to apply.


Having charisma is incredibly important. As a cheerleader, you’re one of the many representative faces of the team. That’s why having a pleasant disposition and a charismatic personality are super important.

During auditions, the judges will assess your overall personality and performance. So, don’t forget to brush up on your people skills while preparing for the audition.

Knowledge About the NFL & Football

If you don’t know much about football but still want to be a cheerleader… then it’s time to brush up on your knowledge.

NFL teams like the Cowboys expect even their cheerleaders to understand the rules of the games. A written test will be administered to assess your knowledge of the NFL rules of conduct and football-related trivia.

You’ll have to study the game’s history quite hard to pass this exam if you don’t know much about it. But if you’re already a fan, this test should be a breeze!


1. Are the Cowboys Cheerleaders Famous?

Nicknamed the “American Sweethearts”, the cheerleading team of the Dallas Cowboys is quite possibly the most famous one out there.

They have been featured in numerous movies and TV shows and photos of their formations and videos of their performances have been seen in many countries around the globe.

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were the first professional NFL team to launch a full-body dance corp, which helped set them apart from other teams.

They also exhibit extremely high levels of athleticism, style, teamwork, and sophistication in their performances. It’s not very surprising that they’re beloved by the audience!

2. Is a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader a full-time job?

According to their guideline, no, cheerleaders for the Dallas Cowboys aren’t full-time employees of the team. They’re mostly either part-time or seasonal jobs.

3. How old is the oldest Cowboy cheerleader?

The oldest cheerleader who had danced with the Cowboys’ girls was 37. Women as old as in their 50s have auditioned for a role in the Cowboys’ cheerleading squad, but none have been picked so far.

4. How long is the longest to be on the Dallas Cowboy cheerleader?

The hard work, long hours, and low pay make it very difficult for cheerleaders to stick around for a long time. Most just take the gig as a part-time job to pursue a college degree before heading somewhere that can offer them better money for their effort. It’s an unfortunate reality of the business.

But there are people who are committed enough to the job and the team that despite all of the issues above, they stick with the team for years before retiring.

The longest-serving members of the DCC (Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders) were VonCeil and Vanessa Hold. They’re sisters and are currently holding the record of having spent around 8 years on the squad before departing.

Last Words

Although being a cheerleader is a highly visible job, it does not translate to good pay. Even cheerleaders who dance for the most well-known teams have struggled to make ends meet for a long time due to their low salaries.

Nonetheless, there has been some improvement in the payments given to cheerleaders today, so you should not let these facts discourage you if becoming a cheerleader and dancing are your passions!

We hope this guide has made you clear about the average salary of a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. If you have further questions, please leave them in the comment section below, and we will answer as soon as we can!

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