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    How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Make? Salary, Pay Structure, and More

    How much do NFL Cheerleaders make? We explore the professional cheerleading industry and how cheerleaders make their NFL dreams come true.

    In 1954, the Baltimore Colts became the first NFL team to have their own cheerleaders, and other teams quickly followed suit. Now, cheerleaders have become synonymous with football, and cheerleading squads have come a long way since those early days.

    How does one get hired as an NFL cheerleader? How much do they get paid? Here’s everything you need to know about the life of an NFL cheerleader.

    How Much Do Cheerleaders Make?

    Since the NFL is a billion-dollar industry, one would expect cheerleaders to get paid well. NFL owners line their pockets with their riches while players sign multi-million dollar contracts; cheerleaders must make a fortune, right?

    Incorrect. According to multiple sources, on average, NFL cheerleaders make $150 per game and roughly $50-75 per appearance.

    The leader of the cheerleading team can make significantly more money, as that role can pay as much as $75,000 per year. But many cheerleaders have to work a second job in order to pay their bills.

    There are some NFL franchises that pay their cheerleaders better than others. The Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles pay their cheerleaders between $15-20 an hour and $500 per game.

    Why Is the Compensation So Low?

    Cheerleaders are independent contractors. NFL teams are not required to pay them as salary employees. For comparison, the average cheerleader makes significantly less money than an NFL waterboy or team mascot.

    During the NFL season, the waterboy is a full-time position, working 40 hours weekly. Teams may employ multiple waterboys to handle the duties for practices and games.

    The typical salary of an NFL waterboy is between $50,000-$60,000 per year. However, some waterboys do not get paid but receive internships for their high school or college.

    When compared to a cheerleader, the salary gap is quite surprising.

    What Do Cheerleaders Do To Prepare for the Season?

    Cheerleaders devote 30-40 hours per week to cheerleading practice. Many cheerleaders spend hours in the gym to get in peak physical condition for the season. Some even work as gym instructors when they are not cheerleading.

    Cheerleading is highly competitive, and the NFL only takes the best of the best. It isn’t all glitz and glamour. Plenty of work goes into performing on an NFL football field, more than the public will ever know. While they are paid for gamedays and public appearances, they typically aren’t compensated for the hours spent preparing or training behind-the-scenes.

    Image is everything for NFL cheerleaders. Most must adhere to strict weight programs and focus on appearance, including manicured nails and styled hair.

    What Is the Role of an NFL Cheerleader?

    NFL cheerleaders cheer on their team — hence the name. They also fire up the crowd and get them into the game. Cheerleaders often perform various choreographed routines.

    KEEP READING: Who Are the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders?

    The schedule of an NFL cheerleader can be grueling. Cheerleaders can spend all day at the stadium for every game, meaning many cheerleaders must spend time away from their families during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Can Cheerleaders Cheer for More Than One Sports Team?

    Yes. Since cheerleaders are independent contractors, many NFL cheerleaders will also cheer for another sports team during the NFL offseason. The same cheerleaders you see on the football field could be in an NBA arena later in the year.

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