Congress, the media, and Americans don't complain when they see Coke, McDonald's, or Miller Lite sponsor sporting events. They get it.
Coca-Cola sponsors the Chicago Bears. If passionate fans of the Chicago Bears buy more Coke than Pepsi, we aren’t particularly surprised. They do, in fact. Over half of passionate fans and over one-third of all Bears’ fans frequently observed Coke’s activation efforts during the Bears 2010 season. These engaged passionate fans see the Coca-Cola brands as more distinct and reported consuming 27% more Coke products than those in the Chicago market unaware or unobservant of Coke’s activation efforts with the Bears.
That, in a nutshell, is how sponsorships work. Passionate fans are motivated to observe the sponsor’s activation efforts, see the brand as distinct from competitors, and buy the more distinct brand.