Sponsorship is when the sponsor pays in return for advertising (usually if the ride has a high running cost or has only just opened, so contributes to the build cost). But IP licencing is when the park pays to basically franchise the brand, it will usually come with many conditions that the park has to stick to. People will say because it brings in more visitors but I think that's a very simplified way of looking at it. You can still create a huge success with an original concept, likewise an IP can flop. What an IP does do is better assure an idea will be popular, because the popularity of the brand will have already been proven, while an original concept hasn't been proven yet. This is why IPs are loved by park marketing teams and accountants who are only thinking about hitting a target Of course it's all about taking a creative risk, otherwise everything would be a rehashed old concept forever if nobody ever did anything new! But sometimes parks need that more reliable draw to fall back on. It's when IPs are used like a guarantee of success that projects can fall down. Look at all the IPs at Thorpe Park in the last few years, big and small attractions. Just because they're an IP doesn't make up for the fact the attractions were bad. Often it feels like the money gone into licencing big IPs would be much better going into the attraction budget!