How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Make A Year?

Seeing how huge the NFL franchise has become, we can’t help but ask the essential question: How much do NFL cheerleaders make a year or a month? 

Is there a vast difference between a newbie and a veteran? Is it all about being pretty and dancing well? 

It’s time for us to explore the matter thoroughly!

How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Make?

Financial resources say the average annual salary of an NFL cheerleader is approximately $22,500. Divide it up, and we will get $150 per game and $50 – 75 per public event. However, skilled cheerleaders might earn more than this number.

If you are a professional cheerleader in the NFL, you can earn $25.27 an hour, which adds up to $52,570 per year – nearly 2.5 times more than the average cheerleader.

10% of these professionals can earn as much as $124,000 per year, thus $59.62 per hour. Their income is miles apart from what a newbie cheerleader can make.

Highest NFL Cheerleader’s Salary

The highest-paid NFL cheerleader can receive $75,000 for one season. Reliable sources revealed that the Carolina TopCats, the cheerleading team of the Carolina Panthers, has reached this number.

Another example is the cheerleaders of the Dallas Cowboys, who get as much as $500 per match if we count every compensation fee for them. 

They are usually recognized and praised for the commitment and energy they bring to every performance.

Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders - Highest paid NFL Cheerleaders
Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders

NFL Dancers’ Salary Compared To Other NFL Jobs

When we put them in comparison, there is a saddening discrepancy between how much a cheerleader earns compared to other occupations on the court.

NFL Dancers’ vs. NFL Waterboys’ Salary

Surprisingly enough, a waterboy in the NFL can make $53,000 per year, and we are talking about a rookie. 

They need to maintain good fitness and relationships with players since they are very close to being an assistant when the players are practicing and working out. In exchange, their salary can be higher.

As you can see, a waterboy’s wage is equal to a professional cheerleader.

NFL Dancers’ vs. NFL Mascott’s Salary

An NFL mascot earns $25,000 compared to the $22,500 salary of an average cheerleader. It is pretty understandable since the mascots are under high expectations for stamina and spirit.

NFL Dancers’ vs. NFL Refs’ Salary

Unfortunately, a cheerleader has no chance to compete with a referee in terms of salary, for the referee is one of the occupations with the highest pay in the NFL.

The referees generally get $205,000 per year, while the most experienced ones might earn as much as $250,000 annually. The salary for referees includes a flat wage for a season and a bonus per game or altogether.

It is almost ten times more than what a typical cheerleader makes.

NFL Cheerleaders’ Salary Compared To Other Professional Sports

Even when compared with NBA cheerleaders (who receive $200 – 650 per match), NFL cheerleaders get paid less.

How much do NBA cheerleaders make

An NBA season also has more games specifically home games as well, which is a golden opportunity for the cheerleaders to earn more.

At least, NFL cheerleaders’ salary looks better than their counterparts in MLB. If a professional NFL cheerleader earns around $50,000 per year, it is only $30,000 in MLB.

Cheerleading is considered a sport nowadays, yet the payment is still way lower than what professional athletes might earn. 

You might have seen a basketball or soccer player who gets millions each year, while the same couldn’t be said about cheerleaders.

Why Do NFL Cheerleaders Make So Little?

The major reason here is the NFL franchise considers cheerleaders independent contractors. When you are a contractor, your salary doesn’t have to follow the standard of the state, hence it can drop below the minimum.

After a case in 2014, the Oakland Raiders invested $1.25M in their cheerleaders, which put the hourly compensation at $9. The lawsuits didn’t stop there though. 

People have pointed out many problems with the cheerleaders’ salaries as well as the harassment and discrimination they had to endure.

It’s a matter of time before people start seeing the devotion these women have for their job. They are not showing off their bodies or dancing for a living, but rather their positive vibes and excellent skills.

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Is It Easy To Become An NFL Cheerleader?

We would say no, for you need to meet many requirements, have certain skills, and overcome challenges. Here is a closer look into the job.

NFL Cheerleader Requirements

Before you think of joining an audition, you should make sure you have most of these boxes checked:


You need to be of age to take part in the audition and sign the contract when you are chosen. Above 18 is the number.

Experience in dancing

Each candidate might have a different experience, though they should be able to perform modern and trendy dances such as hip-hop, jazz, and pom. Some teams might demand cheerleading experience and gymnastic skills.


Although it is not mandatory, most teams would have their eyes on candidates with a high school or even college degree because being a cheerleader isn’t only about dancing.


There won’t be any auditions if someone is not eligible to work according to the laws. In a more serious environment, a background check might ensue.

Appearance and Fitness

The candidates must pass the initial standard for height and weight. They have to keep their bodies in prime condition so that they can perform stuns and routines for the entire season.

Time management

The cheerleaders need to have time for practices, rehearsals, events, and of course the games.

That was the requirement most cheerleaders have to fulfill, yet each team might have other expectations so we recommend asking for specific information from the team you want to join.

Necessary Skills for NFL Cheerleaders

Aside from the standards set by the team, the NFL candidates should hone additional skills to impress the supervisors:


It would be amazing if a cheerleader could choreograph captivating routines. Choreographers are usually able to learn new moves very quickly too.

Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders
Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders – Source:

Stage presence

Being good in the practice room isn’t enough. The cheerleaders must be able to perform in front of crowds with self-confidence and energy.

Interpersonal skills

Cheerleaders are also ambassadors. Hence, they need to interact with the media, sponsors, and fans with positive vibes.


If you want to be the head of the cheerleading squad and obtain special treatment, you need to work with both your teammates and coaches while balancing between friendliness and seriousness.


You will work with different people from other professions, thus it would be helpful if you could adjust quickly.

SNS skills

Nowadays, being active on social media platforms is a must for cheerleaders. Knowing how SNS works and how to create a highly engaging post would help them promote the team better.

Steps to Become an NFL Cheerleader

When you are sure you have everything a professional cheerleader needs, it’s time to take a big step and try to get the job. What do you need to do?

Cheerleader Workshops

NFL teams tend to host these workshops and give information for the audition. It might be interview tips or tricks for flexibility, and you won’t regret attending these gatherings.


You can check on the prerequisites mentioned in the ‘Requirement’ segment before filling out an online application. 

Some teams might demand additional forms from a trusted clinic or organize a second audition for potential candidates.

Attend the audition

You should be in your best shape and form for the big day. It would be more reassuring if you knew about the team and what they are looking for in their cheerleaders.

Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders
Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders – Source:

Extra tips

Wear well-fitted clothes like leotards and pair them with tennis shoes. If you pick up stringent demands while attending workshops, don’t abandon them. 

Also, avoid standing next to someone looking similar to you so the judges won’t compare you with them.


1. What Exactly Do NFL Cheerleaders Do?

In official games, NFL cheerleaders have to spread their energy to the crowd and heat the atmosphere so their team will feel more energized and supported. 

Additionally, they need to fulfill other duties as well:

  • Choreograph and practice

They need to do cheerleading routines and stunts for weekly performances during time-outs and half-times. Sometimes, additional events will also call for their performance.

  • Attend rehearsals

The team requires their cheerleaders to be present at rehearsals, in which the cheerleaders will prepare for the best appearances in public, shows, and games. This includes meetings and photoshoots.

  • Manage their fitness and appearance

The role is physically demanding, thus the cheerleaders must retain their fitness to an extent. At rehearsals and events, they need to show up in a well-trained shape with a healthy diet.

  • Represent the whole team

Aside from dancing for the team and looking energized, cheerleaders are also ambassadors. 

They might need to attend community meetings and charity events with a decent attitude and positive energy.

  • SNS engagement

Most of the time, cheerleaders are the ones interacting with fans on the team’s SNS accounts by posting content and replying to comments.

  • Meetings with sponsors

No team exists without sponsors and advertisers, cheerleaders have to be ready for meetings with them to promote the team in the best way possible.

  • Follow the code of conduct

A team will have its codes for dressing and grooming, and the cheerleaders are not exceptions to these rules.

2. Is An NFL Cheerleader A Full-Time Job?

Short and clear, NFL cheerleader is not a full-time occupation. How much a cheerleader is involved depends on the competition level. 

Some of them only need to show up once or twice a week, while others stick with the team throughout the season.

Most NFL cheerleaders have another job outside or pursue a higher level of education.

3. Can An NFL Player Date A Cheerleader?

Most NFL teams forbid their cheerleaders from interacting with players personally, which obviously means no private relationships, let alone dating. It is perhaps the most stoic rule cheerleaders have to live by.

If the manager catches players and cheerleaders interacting on personal accounts or exchanging physical contact, they might propose a penalty or even fire the cheerleader.

4. How Much Do Football Cheerleaders Make At The Super Bowl?

According to professional reports, a cheerleader in the Super Bowl can make up to $75,000 because they belong to the higher tier with skills and popularity.

If their team makes it to the playoff and even wins the title, there are various bonuses coming along. 

However, it’s safe to note that the cheerleaders are expected to pay for everything including auditions, costumes, makeup, and travel fees.

Final Words

What do you think after knowing how much NFL cheerleaders make? 

As the NFL is getting more and more powerful, fans are flocking to the games and the demand for energetic cheerleaders is higher than ever. 

Therefore, we hope the cheerleaders will get what they deserve for the time and effort they devote to the teams.

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