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This question inevitably popped into your head after another one – that one being, uh, Major League Baseball has cheerleaders? You found that the answer to that question is, of course, yes. It is a relatively new phenomenon, but yes, there are cheerleaders for the MLB. Once you realized that, of course, this was the next question.
How much do MLB cheerleaders make? This depends not only on the cheerleader’s experience level but also what team they cheer for. The annual salary of an MLB cheerleader ranges from approximately $100,000 to $200,000.
As with most careers, all MLB cheerleaders do not make equal amounts across the board. Many factors go into the salary each cheerleader will make in a year. Below will be a more in-depth look at all those factors, as well as how their pay stacks up against other sports cheerleaders.
History of MLB Cheerleading
If you were one of those that initially asked if Major League Baseball players actually have cheerleaders, trust me – you are not alone. There are lifelong fans of America’s national pastime that did not realize these teams also have their own cheering section.
Don’t feel bad if you missed this development. The first MLB cheerleaders did not come around until the mid-1990s. They were introduced to the game via the Walt Disney Company in 1996. Yes, when WDC got involved in baseball, the look and feel of the game changed forever.
In 1996, Disney bought the California Angels and added in some WDC flare and magic. Initially, the crowds hated what they called the Angel Wings, their team cheerleaders. With no guide to follow, WDC made some missteps. They initially had their cheerleaders dancing on top of the home team dugout – blocking the view of the costly season ticket holder seats on that level.
The Angel Wings were moved to the stands in right field for the rest of the season and did not return in 1997. However, other teams did like the idea of it, so cheerleaders were added to the roster in many teams – just not in front of the fans.
Major Factors That Contribute To MLB Cheerleader Salary
So, how does such a big gap come into the pay scale of these cheerleaders? Well, there are quite a few factors that contribute to that. Cheerleading is like most industries. Some people are good, and some are transcendent.
More talented people are likely to get better jobs at more prominent companies, and cheerleaders follow that formula. So yes, quality of work goes into deciding the pay for an MLB cheerleader. So does the success and bankroll of the team whose colors they are donning.
The next factor is likely to be a person’s tenure in cheerleading. Those who are seen as “veteran” cheerleaders will make more money. They have the talent and the experience to bump them up a pay grade, and MLB teams are not pinching pennies.
Likely the cheerer will need to have two seasons under their pom-poms before being considered a veteran.
Other Pay Facts For MLB Cheerleaders
Though those above are the most significant factors for figuring out the pay rate for an MLB cheerleader, they are not the only things involved in MLB cheerleaders’ pay. Other factors will matter and play into their salary.
One thing that really can affect cheerleaders’ pay is that some teams are still opting to treat their cheerleaders as contractors. Those seen as contractors are allowed to be paid less and do not have to be offered any benefits.
Cheerleaders may average an annual salary, but they are paid per game. The individual cheerleader’s payment is figured out by the above factors – team popularity, team budget, talent/quality of the cheerleaders’ work, and experience.
Once that is figured out, their per-game amount will be determined. This can be as low (perhaps lower) as $150 or as high as $500. Then, they make that for every match they appear and cheer the team on for.
If cheerleaders are taken on the road with a team, expenses for lodgings and travel will be covered.
Are There Bonuses?
This is a question that people may ask about MLB cheerleaders because many factors go into a Major League season. The answer to this question is yes. There are, in fact, bonuses.
For certain types of games, the per-game right for a cheerleader will be raised for special events. There are quite a few different points in the season that games will be worth more pay.
- All-Star Games – if cheerleaders are selected for different events throughout All-Star week, they are generally paid quite a bit more per event.
- Playoffs – if your team is lucky enough to make it to the league playoffs, the money per game goes up. Likely it is in the contract that for each level they advance, the price goes up.
- Championship – this is the goal. Cheerleaders can make seven times their per game salary if their team goes all the way, regardless of if they end up winning or losing.
Why do cheerleaders get paid so little?
For the most part, NFL and NBA teams take the position that their cheerleaders are independent contractors. This allows them to pay them less than both federal and state minimum wages per hour, often what the per game total will wind up being. This is also dependent on the length of the season.
If your sport plays fewer matches per year, you make less money.