How Much Do NBA Referees Make? – Revealed

Apart from the players, the referees are also recognized as a valuable part of an NBA/WBNA game. The starting rate ranges from $90,000 to $150,000 for an entry-level. While the senior’s salary rate ranges from $300,000 to $550,000 per season. 

NBA/WNBA is a prestigious basketball league that draws a lot of attention worldwide; thus, it is expected to make a ton of money. No wonder professional basketball players are considered the highest-paid athletes.

But how about the referees? How much do they make to call fouls and penalties and maintain peace and order? With their responsibilities on their shoulders, you would think that they have to be paid well. Get a glimpse of what an NBA and WNBA earns in a season.

How Much Do NBA Referees Make in Average Per Season?

An NBA referee is tasked to work full-time during a season, which is about eight months with almost 82 games. With the workload they have to deal with, total commitment is required. One of the referee’s salary grade plan bases is usually tenurity. The starting rate ranges from $90,000 to $150,000 for an entry-level. While the senior’s salary rate ranges from $300,000 to $550,000 per season

The salary of an NBA referee varies differently from a WNBA referee. Unlike the popularity that NBA is gaining, the women’s league referees are paid significantly lower. Approximately WNBA referees earn $430 per game or more or less $16,000 yearly.

What’s good about being an NBA / WNBA referee is that the average annual salary of those in the entry-level is still higher than to the average national salary of other professions. Also, referees for either NBA or WNBA get exciting perks such as free travel, TV exposure, regular meet-up with NBA personalities, and have a 3-4 months break.

NBA Referee Salary During Playoffs

A playoff is an additional set of games played when both teams got the same score. When this happens, referees can earn up to $15,000 to $30,000 per game in the first two rounds. The referees chosen to be part of the playoffs are more experienced than those on the higher rank. The referee’s salary is comprised of the earnings from each round up to the semi-finals and finals. They may earn up to $4,500 for the first round, $10,000 for the second round, $25,000 for the semi-finals, and up to $30,000

NBA Referees Salary vs.Other Major Sports League

Other major sports leagues such as the NFL, MLB, or NHL offer a higher starting rate for their referees, but senior referees for the NBA tend to have higher salary offers. Here is the overall salary plan of major sports leagues. If you are still starting your career in officiating sports, knowing the different major leagues’ salary ranges would help you which path you would take.

League Salary Range
NFL Referee $173,000 to $650,000
MLB Umpire $150,000 to $450,000
NHL Referee $165,000 to $400,000
NBA Referee $150,000 to $550,000

Final Thoughts

Being a basketball referee in an NBA or WNBA game is a challenge. Before you can officiate a game in a top basketball league, you may need to have years of experience and hard work. Referees play an important and crucial role in the game. That’s why it’s just right for them to enjoy the perks of what they have worked for. They may not get the fame that basketball players enjoy, but at least they get the compensation that they deserve. 

Got Sports Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Recently Published

Scroll to Top