The George Foreman Grill: One of The Best Sports Endorsement Deals In History
One of the most successful boxers in history made millions of dollars, went broke, and then ended up with hundreds of millions of dollars.
George Foreman, born 1949, grew up in Marshall, Texas. By the age of 15, Foreman had dropped out of school to help support his family. When he wasn’t working, you could find him at the gym training to become a boxer.
At the age of 19, George Foreman was chosen to represent the United State at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Foreman won gold, defeating Jonas Cepulis of the Soviet Union. To this day, Foreman states this is his greatest achievement.
Following the Olympics, George Foreman turned professional in 1969. His career started with a 3rd round KO of Dan Waldhelm at Madison Square Garden. Foreman with a heavyweight boxer with a slugger mentality, he would go on to win his next 32 fights, with 29 by KO.
After starting his professional career 32-0, George Foreman got his first heavyweight title shot in 1972 His opponent with the undefeated Joe Frazier. Foreman dominated Frazier, knocking him down 6 times in the first 2 rounds -winning by TKO later in the 2nd.
By 1977, George Foreman had set aside $5 million in retirement. The issue with his retirement was Foreman had made a series of bad investments, and also lived an extravagant lifestyle. 10 years into his retirement, Foreman was broke.
With his money running low, George Foreman decided to re-enter the ring after 10 years of retirement.
From 1987 to 1995, Foreman staged an impressive comeback - culminating an improbable heavyweight title win over Michael Morrison in 1994. Foreman finished his career 76-5. ‘
In the mid 90s, attorney Sam Perlmutter showed George Forman an electric grill as a potential business opportunity. Foreman was hesitant at first but when he saw his wife make him a burger on it, he was sold.
After trying the grill, George Foreman called his partners back and told them he was going to do the deal.
There were no upfront guarantees, Foreman would get 45% of the profits. By 1988, sales had exploded. Foreman was receiving a monthly royalty check of $8 million.
After a continued surge in sales, George Foreman was offered a lump sum buy-out for the continued use of his image and likeness. The price? $138 million.
In total, it’s estimated that Foreman made more than $250 million on the deal.
Regardless of what life throws at you, you’re only one deal away from hundreds of millions of dollars.