Netflix’s ‘America’s Sweethearts’ Uncovers Low Pay for Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Comparable to Full-Time Chick-fil-A Workers

Ballinger News Staff

Netflix’s ‘America’s Sweethearts’ Reveals That a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Makes About as Much as A Full Time Chick-fil-A Worker

### Netflix’s Docuseries on Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Climbs to Top 10: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Netflix’s new docuseries, “America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders,” directed by Greg Whiteley (known for “Cheer” and “Last Chance U”), has swiftly ascended to the streaming giant’s prestigious Top 10 list. This series provides an in-depth look at the 2023-24 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders squad, offering fans an unfiltered view of the intense journey from auditions to training camp, and through the regular season.

#### The Rigorous Journey to Becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

Securing a spot on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders squad is a formidable challenge. Hundreds of hopefuls, including many returning veterans, vie for a coveted position. Out of these, only 44 are invited to training camp, and just 36 make the final team. Despite the high-profile nature of the role in the competitive dance world, the compensation does not match the prestige.

#### Inside the Pay Debate for NFL Cheerleaders

Kat Puryear, a veteran cheerleader, shared on the docuseries that her earnings as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader were comparable to those of a substitute teacher or a full-time Chick-fil-A employee.

“There’s a lot of cynicism around pay for NFL cheerleaders and as it should be,” said Charlotte Jones, EVP and Chief Brand Officer of the Dallas Cowboys, in the first episode. “They’re not paid a lot. But the facts are that they actually don’t come here for the money; they come here for something that’s actually bigger than that to them. They have a passion for dance.”

Jones elaborated, “They have a chance to feel like they’re valued, that they’re special, and that they are making a difference. When the women come here, they find their passion, and they find their purpose.”

#### Balancing Passion with Financial Reality

While the cheerleaders’ passion and purpose are emphasized, the reality is that passion alone doesn’t pay the bills. Most cheerleaders juggle full-time jobs, arriving at practice in the evenings and sometimes dancing until the early morning hours. Director Greg Whiteley revealed in an interview with Glamour that he never received a clear answer about the exact salary of a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, but he learned that dancers worldwide are generally underpaid, with the Cowboys’ cheerleaders being on the higher end of the pay scale.

“Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders are on the highest end of that [NFL cheer] pay scale,” Whiteley said. “I’ve heard horror stories of what a typical NFL cheerleader [makes], but I think the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders fall into a new category. None of them are rich. None of them are getting paid a ton, but it isn’t the same dearth of payment that I think other NFL cheerleaders have to experience.”

#### What Do Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Earn?

According to Sports Illustrated, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders reportedly make $500 per game, totaling around $10,000 per season, with additional income from team-related events and public appearances. A September 2022 article from NBC Sports Boston noted that NFL cheerleaders generally earn about $150 per game, with top earners like the Cowboys and Panthers cheerleaders making about $15-20 an hour, or approximately $500 per game. ZipRecruiter estimates the average wage for an NFL cheerleader at $21.68 an hour.

Despite the high stakes and the demanding nature of the job, the NFL generated $18 billion in revenue during the 2022 season, with projections of $19 billion for 2023. This stark contrast highlights the disparity between the league’s earnings and the compensation of its cheerleaders.

All seven episodes of “America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” are now available for streaming on Netflix.

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