George Foreman may have one of the greatest endorsement deals we’ve ever seen in sports.
George Foreman Grill
The former heavyweight boxer endorsed a fat-reducing grilling machine otherwise known as the George Foreman Grill beginning in the mid-90s. Around this period, Foreman had caught the attention of various advertisers looking to profit off his name, image, and likeness due to his great comeback, after disappearing for nearly a decade.
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In 1994, Foreman became the oldest world heavyweight champion at age 45. That same year, he caught the attention of Michael Boehm, inventor of the Short Order Grill, who sent Foreman a sell sheet and tooled prototype to consider, Entrepreneur reports.
“They initially seemed indifferent, even skeptical. That was true of just about everyone I showed it to,” Boehm said, according to Entrepreneur.
Sales skyrocketed: The George Foreman Grill was then manufactured through Salton, Inc. The product first hit the market in 1994 and sales began soaring by 1996, with $5 million in revenue generated, per The New York Times.
In 1998 sales were through the roof, with revenue reaching $200 million. The product was so successful, it accounted for nearly 37 percent of Salton, Inc.’s sales.
Launched in 1994, the George Foreman Grill was doing $200m a year by 1998.
Foreman’s royalty was so massive (>40%), that the manufacturer decided to buy him out in 1999: it cost them $138m. pic.twitter.com/lkmCG4Wg9L
— Trung Phan (@TrungTPhan) January 31, 2023
Foreman Says He Made $8M In One Month From The Grill
Foreman was reaping a hefty amount of what became his most successful deal.
As AfroTech previously told you, Foreman was initially compensated through royalties. He was reportedly given 40 percent of each grill sold.
CNBC reports Foreman once received a royalty check valued at $1 million after a loss against Shannon Briggs in 1997.
“That was one of the happiest days of my business life,” Foreman said, according to CNBC. “I lost my last professional boxing match, I’d received a check for $1 million for the grill.”
What’s more, Foreman claims he made $8 million some months from his share of profits alone, per Forbes.
“There were months I was being paid $8 million per month,” Foreman previously told AARP.
By 1999, Salton, Inc. purchased the rights to profit from Foreman’s name to continue selling products such as an indoor and outdoor grill for $137.5 million in cash and stock.
AfroTech previously shared that the deal has allowed Foreman to pocket at least $250 million, surpassing what he made through his boxing career.
“No doubt the grill has been more successful, but it never could have happened without the boxing career, I can tell you that…. You know, it’s strange…. People recognize me more now [because of the grill], and now people say ‘George, I love the grill!; And it works. I’ve lost so much weight. You hear these kind of things, and that makes me know that success cannot be measured with money when you’re talking about this,” Foreman said in an interview on The Motley Fool Radio Show.
The George Foreman Grill is still beloved in many households and has sold over 100 million units since it hit the market.