Answer: Over $200 Million
The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, commonly known as the George Foreman Grill, is the portable electrically heated grill manufactured by Spectrum Brands, that we’ve all seen hawked on infomercials at some point in time. Promoted by the boxing champion George Foreman, it’s been adopted by everyone from moms trying to cook quickly for large families to college students grilling burgers in their dorm rooms. While Americans have all come to know and love this utilitarian product, what’s less well known, however, is how many of these grills were sold, and as a result, how much money George Foreman pocketed.
According to an article from CNBC in 2010, over 100 million grills have been sold worldwide. In a more recent article from The Japan Times, who interviewed Foreman this past summer, the number was put at 120 million. So how much money did George walk away with? Well, if we rewind the clock about 20 years to the late 1990s we can take a look at how George’s endorsement deal was structured.
According to CNBC, “the deal wasn’t that compelling from a monetary standpoint. It provided that there would be no upfront guarantees but, after expenses, Foreman would get 45 percent of profits.” By 1998 the grills were flying off the shelves with over $200 million sold, which led Salton (the parent company and maker of the grills) to think that they would make more money if they just bought out Foreman. So, that’s exactly what they did. For $137.5 million and the rights to use his name in perpetuity, George was bought out. Combined with royalties before and after, and millions more in TV appearances, Foreman is said to have pulled in close to $200 million. Not bad for a product, George originally wanted nothing to do with.