July 14, 2024
How Much Money The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Actually Make


Summary

  • Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are among the highest-paid in the NFL, earning $15-20 per hour for practices and $500 per game, with seasoned members making up to $75,000 annually.
  • The squad’s pay is under scrutiny due to their demanding schedule and relatively low wages compared to other team members, leading to lawsuits and calls for better compensation.
  • America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, a Netflix docuseries, explores the intense training, strict rules, and personal lives of the iconic cheerleading squad.



America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders outlines the intense career and training of the cheerleaders for the Dallas Cowboys, as well as their controversial pay. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (also called America’s Sweethearts) features 36 members, many of whom are new recruits. The series offers an intimate look into the auditions, training, and personal lives of these iconic cheerleaders. The show’s creator, Greg Whiteley, also made the multi-season Netflix show Cheer in 2020, which focused on the drama of a college cheer team.

Cheerleading has been a staple in the National Football League (NFL) since 1954, with 24 of its 32 teams currently featuring cheer squads. Prospective cheerleaders undergo scrutiny based on their technique, kicks, splits, appearance, stage presence, enthusiasm, and personality during recruitment. Released as a Netflix original, America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders shines the spotlight on the cheerleading squad for the Dallas Cowboys, the various nuances of their work, and even the pay they receive, which may not be what most would expect.


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The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Make $75,000 Per Year

The Cowboys Are The Most Valuable Team In The League

According to Forbes, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most valuable team, estimated at $9 billion. Reflecting this status, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC) are among the highest-paid cheerleaders in the league. Reports suggest they earn between $15 to $20 per hour for practices and receive $500 per game. The most seasoned members’ annual earnings can reach around $75,000. However, not all cheerleaders receive this level of compensation. In the series, former Cowboys cheerleader Kat Puryear says, “I would say I’m making…like a Chick-fil-A worker who works full-time.”


The total salary includes game performances, hourly wages for practices, and public appearances. The girls are compensated around $50-75 to represent the team at events, such as conferences, corporate events, and hospitals throughout the year. The squad has made over 83 USO appearances since forming in 1961. Annually, the team dedicates over a thousand hours to participating in charitable events and other public engagements. Requests for appearances are open to the public and can be submitted through the squad’s official website.


How The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Salary Compares To Other NFL Teams

The Cowboys Cheerleaders Are Some Of The Highest Paid In The NFL

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders standing looking at the coach

According to NBC Sports Boston, other cheerleaders are paid about $15-20 an hour and $150 a game. This amounts to an average salary of about $22,500 a year. Along with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, some of the other highest-paid squads in the league cheer for the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles. Squads also get paid more if the team advances to the playoffs, as they get to perform in more games, making both the team and the cheer squad more valuable.


Specific pay structures for cheerleading squads are often not publicly disclosed. Still, it is generally thought that the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders receive the highest compensation among all squads. Payments can also vary based on the cheerleaders’ experience levels and seniority within the team. Typically, cheerleaders remain with a team for three to five seasons, with some transitioning to new career paths afterward and others staying on for many years. Kelli Finglass, the Dallas Cowboys’ cheer coach featured in the docuseries, has been involved with the team for nearly two decades, contributing to the squad’s longevity and success.

Why The Pay For NFL Cheerleaders Is So Controversial

Several Lawsuits Have Helped Boost Wages For The Cheerleaders

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders hugging in a locker room


Historically, NFL cheerleaders have been among their teams’ lowest-paid employees. A 2022 report by NBC Sports Boston showed that the average cheerleader makes less than NFL waterboys and mascots. In 2021, several cheer squads filed lawsuits against the league, suing for wage theft, unsafe working conditions, sexual harassment, and discrimination. According to Marketplace, before the lawsuit, Cowboys cheerleaders earned what amounted to an hourly wage of $8, with some teams earning as little as $5 an hour. The teams don’t have to offer them benefits or living wages because the cheerleaders are considered independent contractors instead of employees.

Role Average Annual Salary
NFL coach $7 million
NFL player $2 million
Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders $75,000
NFL waterboy $53,000
NFL mascot $25,000
Average NFL cheerleader $22,500


Source:
NBC Sports Boston

The cheerleaders receive significantly less than the other parts of the team despite working similar, if not more, hours. The docuseries underscores the demanding schedule of cheerleaders, who sometimes work twenty-one consecutive days to prepare for events like the Christmas Day game. Many of these cheerleaders have second jobs to supplement their income due to the inadequate cheerleading pay. The docuseries also outlines the strict rules the cheerleaders must follow, highlighting regulations regarding physical appearance, professionalism, and dedication.

America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
is available to stream on Netflix.


The high standards for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders reflect the team’s pride in their iconic cheerleading squad. Despite the significant wage gap compared to other team members, efforts have been underway to address the longstanding issue of underpayment. America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders delves into these issues and the rigorous standards and intensive training prospective cheerleaders undergo in their journey to join the team and earn the title of America’s Sweethearts.

Sources: Forbes, NBC Sports Boston, Marketplace

America’s Sweethearts- Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders_TV Show_Poster



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