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Vicki Higgins is a sponsorship and brand partnership expert. She is the Founder and CEO of the CXP Agency and host of the Sponsorship Mastery podcast. She negotiated the 2019 naming rights for Toyota Arena and landed over $20 million in sponsorship deals since 2018 with brands like Toyota, Coca-Cola, American Express, Lucas Oil, and more.

Before starting CXP Agency, Vicki worked with a major NBA sports franchise and an international airline. She was an executive with a few of the most prestigious tourist destinations in the US.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Vicki Higgins negotiated the naming rights deal with Toyota Arena
  • Options for venue owners and sponsors
  • Which venue or event owners should be working with CXP Agency to get sponsorship?
  • Some creative sponsorship examples
  • The strategic partnership of sponsors
  • What venue and events owners are struggling with
  • Shifts in the sponsorship industry
  • How Vicki is brokering partnerships in the entertainment industry
  • Vicki’s experience as a woman working with the NBA

In this episode…

As the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, venues and event owners seek strategic partnerships through sponsors. However, finding a brand that is the right fit is a struggle. Even worse, brands are pickier about the venues or events they sponsor.

The problem is venue and event managers do not know how to make the business case for sponsorship. On the other hand, brands are finding it challenging to justify sponsorship spending despite its vast benefits. Whether you run a venue, an event, or a company, this episode is packed with answers for all things relating to sponsorship.

Listen to this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz featuring Vicki Higgins, Founder and CEO of CXP Agency. They discuss how Vicki helped broker the naming rights deal for Toyota Arena, some creative sponsorship examples, how to turn sponsorship into a strategic partnership, options for venue and event owners, and lots more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.


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Episode Transcript

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 0:19

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders, and I’m excited to introduce today’s guest, which I will in a second and Vicki Higgins. But before I do that, I always like to point out other episodes of the podcast people should check out. Right and you know, we were talking before the call, you know, really you help companies on a social mission and bettering the universe bettering their company. And there’s two interviews that stuck out about that, which is Robert Wallace. So check that one out speaker, author consultant, over 40 years of business experience, he is a true rags to riches story that began in the Baltimore projects. And just an amazing story in I think one of my favorite interviews. And it was happened during a tense time in America. So you have to check that out. And then John and Dr. Denitra Griffin are Co-founders of the largest black owned security firm in the United States. AGB, which stands for always giving back his Investigative Service business. And it’s based out of Chicago, someone from you know, Chase Bank was like, You need to be interviewing these people. They’re doing amazing things and doing good in the world. So I’m like, I’m in. And this episode is brought to you by Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships, and partnerships. And we do that by helping you run your podcast. Now Vicki has a podcast. I think every business should have a podcast and I’ve been saying it even before it was self serving Vicki that I had a service that help people do it. For over 10 years. I’m like you should have a podcast because the number one thing in my life and many people’s lives is relationships. And there’s always ways to give to your relationships. I found no better way than to have a podcast feature than profiled them, their thought leadership their company on and spread to the world what they’re doing. So if you’ve thought about doing it, you can email us any questions. We have lots of free resources, you can go to and check out more. Vicki Higgins is a Sponsorship and Brand Partnership Expert. She is CEO of CXP Sponsorship Agency and host of the Sponsorship Mastery podcast, you know, just you know, Vicki when I read this, okay, this is tremendous. Okay, She negotiated the 2019 naming rights for Toyota Arena, she landed over $20 million in sponsorship deals since 2018. with brands like Toyota, Coca Cola, American Express, Lucas Oil, and more. We’re going to talk about some creative ways to handle sponsorship because she’s the expert. But Prior to starting CXP Sponsorship Agency she worked with major NBA sports franchise and international airline, it was an executive with a few of the most prestigious tourism destinations in the US, Vicki, thanks for joining me.

Vicki Higgins 3:13

Thank you so much for having me. It’s really a pleasure.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 3:16

You know, I have to start off with the naming rights, because that is, I can’t imagine all of the moving pieces that are involved in the naming rights for an arena. How did that? How did that start?

Vicki Higgins 3:30

Thank you for asking. It’s one of my most proud moments, actually, when I receive a call to take on this project, I was a little bit nervous, you know, we were we were really under the gun on time. And sometimes these deals take a little bit of time to get on budgets and things like that. So when you think of like staples sponsoring Staples Center, or even like Toyota sponsoring the Olympics, my agency is the agency that creates those partnerships. So when I received the call that this venue in Southern California, their naming partner was expiring and they needed a new name. Now that if that wasn’t the only thing, all of their partnerships were expiring, they were at their end of 10 years. So they want to make sure to take a look at all of the partnerships and see what ones would be the right ones to renew and keep on board and if there were others that we needed to move along and and in the meantime, while we were doing that, oh, by the way, can you bring us a name. So I went out and started knocking on doors. Basically, I talked to a lot of agencies I work really closely with ad agencies. We are like the secret weapon for sponsorship with the ad agencies. So I went to a number of my contacts at ad agencies. And you know, I also believe in first going to the people who are already supporting them. venue so I went to all of the partners Tory was actually a partner at that time and although at a much smaller level and and they said, you know no we’re not interested in the naming rights. So I said Okay, no problem just wanted to come to you first. And then we went on to the other partners have the arena and everyone declined which was fine they really wanted to see us get a great name, but they weren’t really willing to step up to the plate. So we went out to the market and there were two or three brands that I was really pursuing for many months and that negotiation is quite interesting because not only are you talking about like, is this the right market? Is it the right fit for the brand? What are the brand goals what are the what’s how is this going to be measured what’s going to be success at the end of the day, and so really having a deep conversation about the brand goals mission, you know, what their revenue sales initiatives were, what their marketing initiatives were, how they wanted to show up in the community. So I had that conversation with a number of brands that were you know, very focused on the market then we took the next step and started digging in a little deeper on the financials of what this would look like. And a couple of those players dropped out and then we had gone down the pathway pretty far with a company that was not actually based in the US and they were very interested and then suddenly there were some political concerns and talks of tariffs and taxes this and they’re like may not be the right time for us to put our name on a building in Southern California so they bailed at the last minute we were almost at the time when the net will former name was going to expire I was like oh my gosh, so I’m continuing to push we had another brand that was very interested but you know, to be honest, I in my heart, it didn’t feel like it was the right fit. Um, it was a really wonderful investment company. But you know, this area of Southern California is a really ethnically diverse area it’s very highly spanic it’s it’s a really awesome market but it’s family focused, it’s a little bit more blue collar and I just didn’t feel like this big wealth management firm was exactly the right fit and plus I love that the people they were great and they were really interested in putting their name on the building. It just wasn’t exactly