Sports mascots represent the spirit of their teams and provide a symbolic figure behind which fans can rally. These mascots are often as beloved by fans as the team itself. In fact, only four teams in the NFL don’t have mascots as of publication: the Giants, Jets, Raiders and Packers. NFL mascots carry the energy and momentum of the crowd upon their costumed shoulders, and can receive five- or six-figure salaries, depending on their performance and the team’s success.
NFL mascots’ annual pay ranges from $23,000 to $65,000, according to a December 2013 article on TheRichest website, while the "Chicago Tribune" site states that NFL mascots average about $25,000 per year. However, mascots can make significantly more when you factor in yearly bonuses, whose size often depends on how far the mascot’s team makes it in the post-season, and can be quite significant if the team makes it all the way to the Super Bowl, according to TheRichest.
Some mascots may receive health insurance and other benefits. Certain organizations consider the mascot an official employee of the team, and must therefore compensate him accordingly, notes an April 2014 article on the In These Times website. Health insurance is an especially valuable commodity for NFL mascots, as their job involves lots of physical activity that may lead to injury.
While it may look like all fun and games, being a mascot is actually a highly physical and energy-intensive job. Mascots are required to be athletic, physically coordinated, able to take direction, and capable of creating entertaining choreography and routines, according to the "Chicago Tribune." To learn the tricks of the trade, many aspiring mascots attend a mascot school, which teaches character building and branding, audience interaction techniques, marketing and social media, and costume cleaning and maintenance. For example, Higher Impact Entertainment in San Antonio offers a one-day mascot boot camp for aspiring mascots at all levels, for a fee of $75 as of publication.
Comparison to Other Sports
Compared to their Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association counterparts, NFL mascots may earn slightly less. Rocky, the mascot for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, for example, is estimated to be one of the highest-paid mascots of any sport, taking home a six-figure salary, according to the "Chicago Tribune." MLB mascots are also handsomely compensated: the league’s highest-paid mascots are Mr. Mets of the New York Mets and Phillie Phanatic of the Philadelphia Phillies, who both bring home $600 per hour, according to a December 2013 TheRichest article.