Both FIFA and the Olympics Committee have been involved in numerous proved and alleged cases of bribery, where candidate countries funnelled money to the organizers in order to increase their chance of becoming a host for the next event.

So why don't these sports organizations simply switch to an open auction? Every country will bid what they believe the Olympics are worth to them and the amount will surely be much larger than whatever bribes are received under the table. There would no longer be any controversy and the management could receive a nice uptick in salary.

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    Comment, because this is opinion: most likely, because the bribe receivers get all the money. If FIFA and the Olympics auctioned off sites, the organizations would get all the money, and only a bit of that might trickle down to the leaders.
    – tj1000
    Aug 5, 2017 at 17:41
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    You do not take bribes to improve the organization, you take bribes to improve your own situation. Auction does not help you with this Aug 6, 2017 at 3:24
  • Asking to explain a non-event is tricky. Would you consider reframing this as a positive question (i.e., "Why does X happen, instead of Y?") Aug 7, 2017 at 2:29
  • @indigochild I don't think it could be rephrased that way. Care to try? Aug 7, 2017 at 10:03
  • Because its harder to pocket the money when you have an open auction... people are greedy. Aug 8, 2017 at 22:08

2 Answers 2

  1. Bidding in open auction gives money to IOC as organization. Which is rather useless personally to the people who would be getting bribes in the current system. As such, the people being bribed now do not have any incentive to change.

  2. Olympics always made a big deal out of internationalism, giving all nations of the world a chance to host. Offering an open auction would likely result in a handful of rich nations always winning, which goes contrary to this idea.

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    There is a simple solution to number 2. 10% of all bids go into a fund that can be used by a nation that has never hosted the Olympics on a percent match basis. Aug 8, 2017 at 22:21

Because they also want to have a good Olympics. So they spend a lot of time evaluating whether or not the Olympics will be successful in a particular location. The bribes go to evaluators who say that it will. And then the location will build a bunch of venues for the Olympics.

Under your system, the location will purchase the Olympics and then be broke. They won't be able to afford all the venues required to actually hold the events. Then the Olympics will have to build them. So the locations that pay the most may tend to have the fewest venues. Then the Olympics builds them a whole set of new ones. Such locations benefit more than locations that already have venues. In the end, the Olympics might make less money (or even run at a loss).

Better might be to let a for-profit organization run the Olympics. The for-profit organization bids for the Olympic rights and then picks the location. Because it is for-profit, it can pay evaluators bonuses for a successful Olympics. So they won't want to take illegal bribes that may lose them their legal bonuses. They may even be independently wealthy. For example, Mitt Romney was involved when the Olympics were in Utah. Wealthy evaluators are harder to bribe.

The evaluation is a critical step. They can't skip it in the current system. They would have to redo the system to align ownership and responsibility such that someone else does the evaluation. My for-profit suggestion is one possibility, although it may have its own pitfalls. The problem with the current system is that evaluators aren't terribly well paid and have no real reason to care if the Olympics fail. This leaves them vulnerable to corruption by monied interests.

Another way of looking at it is that your system picks the location that is best served by having the Olympics there. We actually want to pick the location that produces the best Olympics, which might be different.

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    If the host country fails to build the required infrastructure you can always reschedule it to another country which has everything prepared, such as the US. It will be a huge embarrassment for the country in question to fail like that. Aug 5, 2017 at 18:14
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    And who would notice that it needs to be moved? The apparently corruptible evaluators who get bribed now. So instead of buying in auction, a country is better off bribing the evaluators. First bribe them to reject all the better locations. Then bribe them to accept yours. Which gets us back to the current system. Or win the auction and then bribe the evaluators to keep it.
    – Brythan
    Aug 6, 2017 at 3:09
  • The corruptible evaluators are already corrupt today and nothing stops them from relocating the event should an emergency arise (see the 1986 Fifa World Cup). The initial auction will remove one step of the process. And it's going to be hard to claim your city is not ready when you have a dozen brand new stadiums lined up on schedule. Speaking of which the current Olympics/World Cup picks are often close to failure anyway - South Africa, Sochi and Brazil all had massive problems before the games. Aug 6, 2017 at 7:38
  • @JonathanReez The corruptible evaluators are already corrupt today and nothing stops them from relocating the event Do you realize that taking bribes is a crime and that the evaluators that accept those do risk getting jailed? Crossing the people that bribed you can lead to them collaborating with the justice to expose it. And if that is not possible, the people being bribed are delegates chosen by the national organizations, so they must at least appear to be competent or face consequences. You talk as if nobody in FIFA or IOC has ever been judged or forced to resign over these issues.
    – SJuan76
    Aug 6, 2017 at 14:57

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