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What is the NBA referee salary? Exact Figures and Interesting Facts

Author: Ivanna Shostak
11 January 2020, 10:09
Votes: 1

The NBA is the men's professional basketball league of North America, including such states as Canada and the US. It is included in the list of top four professional leagues (along with the NFL, the NHL and the GBL). The following article from the Login Casino team will focus on an integral aspect of NBA – officials’ work (more frequently, they are called referees), their duties and how much do NBA refs get paid.

What is the NBA referee salary? Exact Figures and Interesting Facts

A brief overview of NBA referees’ work

In basketball, a referee ensures compliance with the rules and keeps order in the game. In general terms, basketball is thought to be one of the most difficult sports activities to referee due to a number of factors: the game speed, the complexity of the rules, their interpretation depending on the case, as well as the necessity to make important decisions very quickly.

In the NBA, there is one chief official, who is called the crew chief, and other officials (referees). It should be noted that all the officials are equally entitled to oversee almost all aspects of the matches.

What are NBA referees’ duties?

Before we provide information on how much money do NBA referees make, it is necessary to indicate their main duties. The officials need to make sure that the match goes smoothly, and this includes a number of different responsibilities, from stopping the match to spectators and players management. Besides, they are required to ensure that all the equipment, which players utilize, as well as the court, are safe and in usable conditions. For instance, if a problem arises that impedes the safe conduct of the game, officials must solve this issue. Overall, they often have to overcome contingencies that might or might not affect the game.

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What is the average NBA referee salary?

What is the average NBA referee salary?

The average NBA official’s salary goes from one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to five hundred and fifty thousand dollars, depending on their work experience. The first figure regards those who only begin their career in this field while chief ones make much more money. In most cases, referees begin to officiate high school and college games and go to the NBA. Of course, it is clear that even those who just begin their careers in this field have a much higher salary than members of other typical professions.

However, it is not only a high salary that attracts those who want to become NBA officials – this job provides a number of other exciting benefits too. The NBA officials are constantly seen on TV, they often meet well-known basketball players. In addition, they have three or four months break in order to have a rest.

How much do NBA refs make per game?

Work experience and type of league

Earnings per one game

Professional-level NBA official with a lot of experience

Three thousand and five hundred dollars

Entry-level NBA referee

Six hundred dollars

WNBA referee

Four hundred and twenty-five dollars

As it is possible to see, WNBA referees have considerably lower salaries than other categories. This is due to the fact the men's NBA league is much more popular and profitable than women's league.

How much do NBA refs make in the finals? A lot of basketball fans want to know the answer to this question. It should be noted that in playoffs, the level of NBA refs’ earnings increases significantly. For instance, senior officials can receive up to twenty-nine thousand dollars per the final game. 

How much do NBA refs make a year?

Work experience and type of league

Earnings per year

Professional-level NBA official with a lot of experience

Three hundred thousand dollars

Entry-level NBA referee

Ninety thousand dollars

WNBA referee

Eighty thousand dollars

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Comparing NBA refs’ salaries to other popular leagues

Certainly, in others sports, the role of a referee is also incredibly important since this is a person who holds the responsibility for the sports event.

In general terms, the NBA ref salary is more than that of other well-known sports leagues’ referees like MLB umpires (up to four hundred and fifty thousand dollars) and NHL referees (up to four hundred thousand dollars) but it is lower if we compare to NFL referees’ salaries (up to six hundred and fifty thousand dollars).


Having found out how much do NBA refs make, we may conclude that the NBA referee is a profitable and interesting job position with a number of benefits. In order to receive high salaries, members of this profession have to be in good shape all the time, remain attentive throughout the whole match and be psychologically stable. No one will argue that it is quite a stressful job since all NBA referees’ actions are followed by a high number of basketball fans, who are often not able to handle their emotions.

As mentioned earlier, during the match against Southampton, Jose Mourinho, the Tottenham manager, received a yellow card.

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