Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Have Shared Just How Little They Make in a Season

Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders have it better than most — but that's not saying much.

Sara Belcher - Author

Jun. 26 2024, Published 3:00 a.m. ET

A group of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders in a line
Source: Getty Images

Being a cheerleader for one of the NFL teams is a dream for many young girls when they first begin cheering. On-screen, their lives look glamorous — but it seems that not all that glitters is gold when looking at just how much the members of the team make per game. Despite the cheer teams being an integral part of each team's appearance, these groups are independently contracted, and their compensation in a season is staggeringly low. Yes, even for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

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How much do Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders make? It's more than most NFL cheerleaders.

Despite the life of a cheerleader appearing to be one of luxury on the surface, those who are part of the official cheer squads for NFL teams barely make minimum wage. According to NBC Sports Boston, the average NFL cheerleader only makes $150 per game, with the potential to earn more stipends if they participate in other public appearances. In total, the average NFL cheerleader makes less than $23,000 a year.

A lineup of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders
Source: Getty Images
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Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, however, make considerably more — though it's still far from a life of luxury. Each cheerleader reportedly makes around $500 a game, averaging around $75,000 a year. Though this is significantly more than minimum wage, it's still a measly salary compared to some of the team members playing on the field.

The popularity of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading team aids in this increase to their pay per game, but some who have cheered on the team shared just how bleak the compensation felt in the Netflix documentary America's Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

"I would say I’m making…like a Chick-fil-A worker who works full time," former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Kat Puryear said in the series.

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A member of the Dallas Cowboys cheer team
Source: Getty Images

NFL cheer teams have faced a handful of lawsuits over the years.

Per The Guardian, multiple NFL cheer teams have been hit with lawsuits since 2014, leveling allegations of wage theft, harassment, unsafe working conditions, and/or discrimination. One cheerleader argued she was only paid for appearances and not for the hours she spent in rehearsals or at events as an ambassador, while another said she took home a whopping $105 for an entire season — less than the cost of the uniform she was required to purchase with her own money.

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These lawsuits aren't contained to a single cheer team, either. By 2020, 10 of the 26 official NFL cheer teams were facing at least one lawsuit from its cheerleaders. Other offenses detailed in these suits alleged that the members' conduct was policed off the field, preventing them from wearing sweatpants in public and strictly monitoring their weight.

The Washington Commanders faced some of the more serious allegations, with the suit claiming the staff sat in on an annual swimsuit calendar shoot without the cheerleaders' consent before being coerced into going with some of these executives to dinner. Though that lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court, stories like this one are not uncommon in cheerleading circles.

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