How much do NFL cheerleaders make each football season and who is the richest?

How much do NFL cheerleaders make each football season and who is the richest?

A lot of money circulates in the sports industry, with athletes among the world's highest-paid professionals. Ironically, the case is not the same for everyone who contributes to making the industry what it is. For instance, the NFL wouldn't be what it is without the input of cheerleaders, but they earn far less than what the players get. So how much do NFL cheerleaders make? As usual, there is a pecking order even with the salaries of cheerleaders.

How much do NFL cheerleaders make
NFL Pro Bowl encouragers representatives Zephanie (L), Meredith (2ndL), Tiffany (3rdL), Julia (3rdR), Sam (2ndR) and Shayla (R) pose during the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Ethan Miller
Source: Getty Images

Many factors come into play when determining the salary of an NFL cheerleader. To begin with, experience is vital because it means one is better at what she does. In addition, the bigger clubs will tend to pay their encouragers well because they have more money than the smaller clubs. The aspect of negotiation skills also plays a role because NFL cheerleader salary contracts are between the cheerleader and the club.

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History of cheerleading in the NFL

The league opened its doors to cheerleading in 1954, almost seven decades ago. The first NFL team to have cheerleaders was The Baltimore Colts (now Indianapolis Colts). Today, 26 NFL teams have people to cheer them. However, out of the 32 teams in the league, six do not have encouragers.

One of the biggest reasons NFL cheerleaders earn little money is that it is not a full-time job. Many of the supporters have full-time jobs outside of the league. Even with the little money they are paid, becoming an encourager is not an easy task.

To qualify as one, you must go through several auditions, interviews, and tests. For instance, a person may be required to comply with specific photoshoot rules and stay physically fit for as long as she is an encourager. If you become overweight even slightly, you are discarded.

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Cheerleading adds colour to the league, but what encouragers are paid shows they are not appreciated as they should be. There are several complaints about them being underpaid.

How much do NFL cheerleaders make?

The NFL encouragers are paid a bare minimum as teams strive to save as much as possible. Until recently, most NFL cheerleaders were paid below the minimum wage in the USA. What they earn is just a drop in the ocean compared to the salaries of players and referees.

nfl cheerleader salary
Los Angeles Rams attend the Babes And Ballers Super Bowl party hosted by Babes In Toyland at Academy LA in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Paul Archuleta
Source: Getty Images

On average, an NFL cheerleader takes home about $150 per matchday plus an additional $50-$75 for a single public appearance. The per-hour salary of an encourager ranges between $15 and $20. This salary makes NFL cheerleading one of the lowest paying jobs in the league.

There is a significant discrepancy because very few experienced encouragers can earn more than $50,000 a season. On the other hand, the highest-paid NFL cheerleaders take home close to $75,000 per season. In addition to that, they also bag bonuses during the playoffs season as well as the Super Bowl.

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Next up in the pecking order are the supporting encouragers. They are expected to save the day when the main encouragers don't appear for a match. These earn a salary of about $20,000 in a season. Their per-hour salary is estimated to be about $9.

Richest NFL cheerleaders

One of the richest NFL cheerleaders is Teri Hatcher, a cast member of Desperate Housewives. She has a net worth of £36 million ($50 million) as of 2022. She started her career as an encourager for the San Francisco 49ers. She has featured in films like Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Desperate Housewives and Tomorrow Never Dies.

Teri is famous for her more than three-decade career in television. She has won awards like the Golden Globe and three Screen Actors Guild Awards and has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. Previously, she used to be an encourager for the 49ers in 1984. Below are the top 10 richest encouragers and their alleged net worth:

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  • Teri Hatcher, San Francisco 49ers - $50 million
  • Phyllis Smith, Arizona Cardinals - $7 million
  • Lisa Guerrero, Los Angeles Rams - $7 million
  • Stacey Keibler, Baltimore Ravens - $4.5 million
  • Brandi Redmond, Dallas Cowboys - $4 million
  • Charisma Carpenter, Los Angeles Chargers - $4 million
  • Appollonia Kotero, Los Angeles Rams - $4 million
  • Camille Kostek, New England Patriots - $3,4 million
  • Carmella, New England Patriots – $100,000 - $1 million
  • Bonnie-Jill Laflin, 49ers and Cowboys - $1 million
How much do NFL cheerleaders make
Members of the Las Vegas Raiderettes cheerleading squad pose before round two of the 2022 Draft in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: David Becker
Source: Getty Images

What do NFL cheerleaders do?

Cheerleaders are known for their colourful and energized touchline performances. They specialize in cheering and stirring up the league's activities, especially on the pitch. Their performances bring a spirit of enthusiasm, fun, and excitement to players, viewers, and fans.

Even though their roles are more or less the same across the board, they are subjected to different policies and compliance depending on their teams. Their primary role remains to boost the morale of the audience. The cheerleading acts are usually staged, practised, and scheduled before they are performed.

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Frequently asked questions

  1. How much do football cheerleaders get paid? The average salary of the league's cheerleader is $150 per matchday.
  2. Do NFL cheerleaders get paid? Yes, they get paid, but their salary is little compared to that of the football players.
  3. How much do NFL cheerleaders make at the super bowl? The super bowl salary for cheerleaders is $150 plus bonuses.
  4. How much do NFL cheerleaders make a year? An encourager can make up to $75,000 a year, depending on the team they are cheering for.
  5. How much does the highest-paid NFL cheerleader make? The highest-paid NFL cheerleader is paid $75,000 in a season.
  6. Who is the richest NFL cheerleader? The richest NFL cheerleader is Teri Hatcher, with a net worth of $50 million.
  7. Do all NFL teams have cheerleaders? No, only 26 of the 32 teams have encouragers.

Like life, cheerleading is all about the survival of the fittest. How much do NFL cheerleaders make? Usually, there is no uniform salary scale. Their salaries depend on an individual's talent, dedication, and experience. Those clubs that appreciate the role played by applauders ensure that they are paid well than their counterparts.

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