NFL cheerleaders are required to have an immense amount of time and training, just like everyone else involved in the NFL. They must commit to the exhausting work and practice schedule of representing a certain team. With that, how much do NFL cheerleaders make? As of today, NFL cheerleaders earn an estimate of $75 to $150 per game, and this doesn’t include other corporate appearances yet, which would likely be paid at a different rate.
It’s been reported by a former cheerleader that they often work between 30 to 40 hours per week. As a matter of fact, one of the women filed a lawsuit that she only earned less than $5 an hour and they often earn sub-minimum-wage compensation for their time. It’s also been reported that cheerleaders would be fined for forgetting their pom-poms and those who gained weight would be benched.
- In 2022, NFL cheerleaders earn about $150 per game on average. This accumulates to about $22,500 per year.
- Cheerleaders from a popular and well-known squad can make approximately $500 per match.
Are NFL Cheerleaders Underpaid?
NFL cheerleaders are underpaid, as they are only paid for their performance at the game without factoring in the hours spent on rehearsal and practice. A former cheerleader of Tampa Bay had made a claim saying that she was earning only around $2 per hour. 
Why are NFL cheerleaders barely earning minimum wage?
NFL teams have a history of hiring positions like cheerleaders under independent contracts. When being classified as independent contractors, these NFL teams are under no obligation to pay cheerleaders an amount in line with state and federal minimum wages. 
Nevertheless, such unequal pay led to several cheerleaders’ lawsuits, with one well-known case being Maria Pinzone – a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Buffalo Bills and the NFL in 2014. She later won the case with the Raiders settling for $1.25 million in September 2014, and paying cheerleaders from 2010 – 2014 for what they were owed back in salaries. 
More recently, in 2020, cheerleaders from several NFL teams filed a series of legal disputes to sue these teams (10 out of 26) for wage theft, unsafe working conditions, sexual harassment, and discrimination. 
You may wonder why some cheerleaders still accept doing such jobs despite the terrible pay and the abusive working condition. One former NFL cheerleader for the Tennessee Titans has disclosed three reasons including better jobs (after working as a cheerleader), lifelong connections, and the NFL experience. 
Requirements for NFL Cheerleaders
If you’re planning to be an NFL cheerleader, there are a few major requirements you should be aware of. Below is the list of requirements that need to be met by those who are qualified:
#1 Complete an Online Application
Every team requires aspiring cheerleaders to fill out an online application first to expedite the process. When applying online, you will be asked to submit the photos with consideration of the criteria below:
- Colored or black and white, Size 5 x 7 or larger
- 1 full length, and one headshot
- Photos should not be retouched or edited
- Photos that can reflect any outfit (such as casual, business, formal, swimwear, fitness)
#2 Submit a Resume
You will also have to prepare your resume so they can easily know your basic information. There is no age limit, but you must be at least 18 years old. There’s also no height requirement.
#3 Pass the Interview
When you receive a callback, you must pass the interviews whether it’s live face-to-face, or virtual. You do not need to cover your tattoos or remove your piercings for the audition process. But if ever you get selected to be an NFL cheerleader, only tattoos that can be covered by the uniform or concealed by makeup are permissible and one pair of post-earrings are allowed.
#4 Participate in an Optional Audition Workshop
You must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the workshop. Wear a neat workout attire with warm-ups and sneakers or dance shoes. Bring snacks, a water bottle, a notebook/pen, a hair tie, and a yoga mat for the fitness segment.
There were a lot of legal battles that happened in the past years attempting to bring about more fairness and transparency when it comes to cheerleaders’ compensation and employment practices.
What can you say about this? Do NFL cheerleaders earn a reasonable amount of pay or do you find it unfair for them not to be earning as much as other NFL staff are earning? Let us know what you think by sharing your thoughts below.
- NFL cheerleaders on many teams must abide by strict rules ….” 9 Apr. 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-cheerleaders-rules-2018-4.