How much do NBA refs earn? You may be surprised. is an informative blog for readers. The products in the article contain links to affiliate marketing. We may receive a small commission when you make purchases through our links. You do not have to cover any extra costs for us. Watch our full disclosures here.

While NBA referees may not have the same reputation as NBA players, they play a vital role. Have you ever seen an NBA referee make a defiant call? How much do refs make in the NBA?

The average income of an NBA umpire can range between $180,000 and $550,000 per year. The average NBA umpire’s income can be as high as $10,000 per NBA game in the first few rounds of the playoffs. The remuneration of NBA referees is also increasing.

How Much Do NBA Credentials Pay?

According to the National Basketball Referees Association, the average salary of a basketball referee outside the NBA is about $16 per hour, which equates to about $33,000 per year.

Meanwhile, the average compensation for an NBA referee can range from $180,000 to $550,000 per year.

Working for the Billionaire League, the most watched basketball league in the world, guarantees a higher income than the average basketball umpire.

Additional incentives, privileges, and benefits that come with an NBA referee salary are often unmatched by other basketball referees and pay contracts.

What is the salary of an NBA referee?

You would think that the most challenging position in any sport would be that of the players, who lead their teams to victories in games and generate the enthusiasm of the spectators, turning the sport into a business.

While this is true, the umpire’s job is more demanding. Referees must ensure fair play, despite being constantly harassed by the public, if their judgement deviates from the public’s perspective.

The NBA referees’ job is more difficult because the basketball court is closed off, making the booing audible. However, aside from a solid ethical conscience, umpires must be physically fit to withstand the toll a season can take on their bodies.

Referees must run around the field for 48 minutes at a time, unlike the players, with no breaks or the ability to occupy a specific area of the field. They must carefully monitor the ball across the basketball court for the duration of the game, keeping a close eye on the players to avoid missing a foul.

This ability to balance the physical and mental demands of this profession is awe-inspiring. Is the NBA referee’s compensation enough to offset the challenging nature of the job? The average compensation for an NBA umpire can range from $180,000 to $550,000 per year.

So, why is there a difference in NBA referee salaries? The salary of an NBA referee differs depending on the job title and the referee’s experience. Entry-level umpires, often known as rookies for the Women’s National Basketball Association, and senior-level umpires are the three major categories of NBA officials.

You have the potential to grow in this field. To advance from entry-level to senior referee, you must have at least five years of match refereeing experience.The WNBA referee salary is the lowest of these awards, with referees receiving about $425 per round.

It works out to almost $180,000 a year. In the men’s league, the starting fee for a rookie NBA referee is about $600 per game. It works out to about $250,000 a year.

As predicted, the main revenue is earned by professional NBA referees, who can expect to earn about $3,500 per game after several years in the league. It’s a hefty salary of $550,000 a year.

After the regular season, senior-level NBA referees can earn extra money by referencing playoff games. It is only the base salary for an NBA referee, not including any other benefits an NBA referee may receive.

All free game tickets, autographed items such as sneakers, and first-class flights to the games are among the perks. Referees in the NBA are also well compensated, with good health insurance and retirement plans.

Unfortunately, the WNBA’s salary is the lowest since the women’s season is significantly shorter and less watched, resulting in lower revenue for the company. It means WNBA referees and female teams in the league get paid less.

Because there are only ten NBA women’s teams playing a single 34-game season, the NBA referee salary differs significantly for women and men.

How Much Do NBA Playoff Referees Earn?

An NBA season usually begins in October and lasts through April, with each team meeting its conference rivals three times and those from other leagues twice. As a result, each team plays 82 matches.

After the regular season is over, the playoffs begin and last through June. Since 2016, the NBA has adopted a new playoff structure: a riveting elimination tournament that determines the winner of the championship.

Teams must break into the top eight in their league to make the playoffs. An opportunity to work as an umpire in the NBA playoffs is an additional source of income for officials. Because the teams are better known and the games are more anticipated, the playoffs are more popular.

What is the average salary of an NBA referee?

Basketball umpires can earn the highest salaries among other sports. NBA referees have many salary grades, just like any other job. They can earn better wages as their talents and years of expertise grow.

Entry-level NBA referees are the most entry-level officials in the league, earning an average of about $250,000 per year or $600 per game.

What is the average salary of a WNBA referee?

Because the Women’s National Basketball Association is less successful than the NBA and has a shorter season, WNBA officials earn significantly less than NBA officials.

In the WNBA, an entry-level umpire earns an average of $16,000 a year, or $425 per game. While some sources state as much as $180,000 a year, there is considerable controversy here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions we’ve gathered from our research in this area.

How Much Do NBA Players Get Paid Per Game?

Because NBA referees are paid every game rather than annually, their pay can be very unpredictable. It is especially the case during playoff games, as the high stakes and huge profit margins mean that the officials are paid significantly more than during regular games.

NBA playoff games are officiated only by the most outstanding senior umpires, who can expect to earn around $10,000 per game during the first two rounds and up to $30,000 per game in the semifinals and finals.

Do NBA referees pay for travel?

This job requires a lot of energy and agility.

No, they do not have to pay for their travel to the games.

NBA referees, like the players, practically spend the entire season on tour, travelling to every game. The regular season lasts eight months, with postseason games extending it even further. That’s why NBA referees travel an average of 25 days a month.

Because all that travel can be costly, referees are compensated with benefits such as flight allowances in addition to their income per game. It means that referees do not have to pay their travel expenses.

However, because there is not much public information about the amount of the travel allowances, it is unclear whether they cover the full travel costs.

How does the average income of an NBA umpire compare to other sports officials?

Nearly all of the highest-paid NBA referees earn more money than those from other sports. Basketball service calls for quick decision-making, requiring NBA referees to act close to the crowd, adding to the tension.

As a result, NBA positions are highly competitive, and the league has stable careers. Being a referee in any sport is still a rewarding job.

On average, NFL umpires make about $205,000 a year, NHL umpires make about $275,000 a year, and MLB umpires make about $300,000.

Final thoughts

The amount an umpire earns depends on the importance of the game and the umpire’s expertise and reputation. After reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of how much NBA refs make in a year or so.

If you are still not satisfied with this article, you can consult Scott Fujita for more useful information. Thank you for reading!