The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders are the most famous cheer squad on the planet. The group, also known as America's Sweethearts, first debuted in the 1960s and have remained a part of the sports zeitgeist ever since. There was even a television show on CMT called Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team that ran from 2006 to 2021.
NFL Cheerleader Salary
NFL cheerleaders have to be among the most poorly paid people involved in professional sports, with 26 of the 32 NFL teams having cheer squads. There's nothing official available online about how much they make, but it appears that the unofficial general consensus is that cheerleaders make $150 per game and another $50 - $100 for public appearances.
The Cowboys cheerleaders, who work for the biggest brand in the game, may make around $500 according to a very strange sponsored post on the NBC Sports Boston website which suggests that somehow translates to $75,000 a year.
Considering there are only 17 games a season and only eight or nine are at home, that's actually just $4,500 annually, plus whatever they make for other appearances. However, a more accurate picture of their earnings may have come in 2019 when a former cheerleader Erica Wilkins sued over a pay dispute because she was making less than minimum wage. Via the Dallas Business Journal:
“My first year on the team working for the Cowboys I made approximately $5,000 and the highest that I ever made my third year on the team was $16,000,” Wilkins told WFAA before her dispute was resolved.
She said the Dallas Cowboys paid cheerleaders $8 an hour when she was on the team and on game day only gave them $200 each.
Sometimes, Wilkins said, she didn’t even make minimum wage.
“I remember I did an out of town appearance. It was my first year on the team meaning I'm making $100 flat rate for that appearance,” Wilkins explained. “I think it ended up being like a 16-hour day and I was paid a flat rate of $100 plus taxes being taken out of that. I think it was $88.”
The Dallas Cowboys are worth about $8 billion.
According to a CNN story about other lawsuits filed by cheerleaders against teams, the Raiderettes, the cheerleaders for the then Oakland Raiders, made just $1,250 a season, which is just $156 a game. That was within the last decade. The Raiders are valued at around $5 billion.
The only thing we know for certain is that cheerleaders are grossly underpaid. All signs indicate them being minimum wage employees for some of the most valuable sports organizations in the world.