Originally opened in 2004, the ride was known as Spinball Whizzer and featured a loose pinball machine theme. The name was a pun on the song Pinball Wizard by The Who. It was decided in late 2009 that the ride would receive sponsorship. The roller coaster was therefore given a red and blue track repaint; new decoys, signage and audio, including songs from the games (with the station announcements done by Sonic's current voice actor Roger Craig Smith). The ride re-opened to the public on 13 February 2010 during the park's February half term event. A Sonic-themed room was also made available at the Alton Towers Hotel, which features various playable Sonic games and wallpaper based on Sonic the Hedgehog 4 game.
The Sonic Spinball ride after re-branding.
SEGA previously had a deal with Alton Towers for use of Sonic the Hedgehog in the Toyland Tours dark ride. A Sonic the Hedghog animatronic featured in one of the ride's scenes along with associated sound effects and music. However, the ride was closed for refurbishment in June 2005 to make way for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride.
SEGA's sponsorship was set to end in 2013 as part of the three-year deal. At the end of 2013 the sponsorship was renewed, and will continue until 2016.