Honestly, while this in interesting, the relative "cheapness" of a show doesn't mean these sponsors are paying the producers to start up the series, which is what was being suggested for Buck Rogers Begins. It may happen, sure, but I'll bet said sponsors are generally backing producers with a proven track-record, not a group of fans who've made knock-offs of a TV show as a labor of love as opposed to a business.
Truth be told, most of the syndicated shows are produced by Advertising agencies and PR firms, who have no track record at all with television production, and have reputations in advertising alone. They pitch the shows to their existing ad clients, and secure advertising agreements prior to doing anything else. Up-front advertising dollars often determines whether a pilot is ever made, let alone sets and the like. And in the early days of television, sponsors actually produced most of the programs aired, and paid for everything
up front. It was the norm rather than the exception.
Granted, this doesn't necessarily have any application to the world of fan films, but I felt compelled to correct the notion of sponsors not paying for a production to be made, and instead only paying for a production after-the-fact.