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1996 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.
- Super Bowl XXX – the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) won 27–17 over the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC)
- World Bowl 96 – The Scottish Claymores won 32–27 over the Frankfurt Galaxy.
- Fiesta Bowl (1995 season):
- Cleveland Browns deactivate and move to Baltimore where they become the Baltimore Ravens The Browns are later reactivated in Cleveland in 1999.
- The Big 12 Conference begins with its first college football game between Texas Tech and Kansas State. Kansas State won 21–14.
- Australian Football League
- April 1 – NCAA Men's Basketball Championship –
- NBA Finals –
- The 1996 NBA draft takes place at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Tied with the 1984 and 2003 drafts, this draft is considered one of the greatest in NBA history, as it included a class of several Hall of Famers such as Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, and Steve Nash.
- National Basketball League (Australia) Finals:
- March 16 – Christy Martin loses to Deirdre Gogarty by a decision in six rounds to retain her Women's boxing world title in front of a national TV audience. This fight is credited with making the general public aware of women's boxing.
- March 30 to April 7 – 31st European Amateur Boxing Championships held in Vejle, Denmark
- June 7 - Oscar De La Hoya defeats Julio César Chávez by 8th round to win the WBC's world Junior Welterweight championship.
- Gaelic football
- Ladies' Gaelic football
- Masters Tournament - Nick Faldo
- U.S. Open - Steve Jones
- British Open - Tom Lehman
- PGA Championship - Mark Brooks
- PGA Tour money leader - Tom Lehman - $1,780,159
- Senior PGA Tour money leader - Jim Colbert - $1,627,890
- Tiger Woods turns professional in September. In the last five regular tournaments of the year on the PGA Tour, his finishes were T5-T3-1-3-1, placing him among the tour's top 30 money-winners for the year and thereby qualifying him for the season-ending The Tour Championship. Woods named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
- British Amateur - Warren Bladon
- U.S. Amateur - Tiger Woods becomes the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles. This was the sixth consecutive year in which he won a USGA championship, one short of Bobby Jones' record of seven.
- European Amateur - Daniel Olsson
- Nabisco Dinah Shore - Patty Sheehan
- LPGA Championship - Laura Davies
- U.S. Women's Open - Annika Sörenstam
- Classique du Maurier - Laura Davies
- LPGA Tour money leader - Karrie Webb - $1,002,000 - becomes the first ever woman to earn more than a million dollars in one golf season.
- The United States team retained the Solheim Cup beating the European team 17 to 11.
- June 22 - the fastest race mile in harness racing history was set by Jenna's Beach Boy (1:47.3) at Meadowlands Racetrack
- North America Cup - Arizona Jack
- United States Pacing Triple Crown races –
- United States Trotting Triple Crown races –
- Australian Inter Dominion Harness Racing Championship –
- Inaugural running of the Dubai World Cup, promoted as the "world's richest horse race", at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai.
- Australia – Melbourne Cup won by Saintly
- Canada – Queen's Plate won by Victor Cooley
- Dubai – Dubai World Cup won by Cigar
- France – Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe won by Helissio
- Ireland – Irish Derby Stakes won by Zagreb
- Japan – Japan Cup won by Singspiel
- English Triple Crown races:
- United States Triple Crown races:
- Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships:
- Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer during the regular season: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Hart Memorial Trophy – for the NHL's Most Valuable Player: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Stanley Cup - the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Florida Panthers 4 games to 0 for their first-ever Stanley Cup title. It was also the franchise's first season since relocating from Quebec City, where they were known as the Nordiques.
- World Cup of Hockey
- World Hockey Championship
- Phoenix Coyotes (now Arizona Coyotes) play inaugural season.
The following is a list of major noteworthy MMA events during 1996 in chronological order.
Before 1997, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was considered the only major MMA organization in the world and featured much fewer rules then are used in modern MMA.
|Date||Event||Alternate Name/s||Location||Attendance||PPV Buyrate||Notes|
|February 16||UFC 8: David vs. Goliath||—||Bayamón, Puerto Rico||13,000||160,000||UFC rule change, timed rounds were changed to two 10-minute rounds for first two rounds of the tournament and a single 15-minute round in the tournament final and superfights. Introduction of judges. First MMA event to draw criticism from politicians.|
|May 17||UFC 9: Motor City Madness||—||Detroit, Michigan, US||10,000||—||First UFC event not to feature a tournament, however it was not the last.|
Closed fisted strikes to the head were banned for this event only, however this was not enforced.
Following this event the UFC was removed from airing events on numerous cable systems, including TCI cable.
|July 12||UFC 10: The Tournament||—||Birmingham, Alabama, US||4,300||—||This event was originally going to be held at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island.|
|September 20||UFC 11: The Proving Ground||—||Augusta, Georgia, US||4,500||—||—|
|December 7||The Ultimate Ultimate 2||Ultimate Ultimate 1996
|Birmingham, Alabama, US||6,000||—|
- January: England - The 1995–96 Rugby Football League season ends with Wigan declared champions.
- March 29: Paris – the new Super League competition, the first ever season of professional rugby to be played in summer, begins with new team Paris Saint-Germain's first match: a 30–24 win over Sheffield Eagles at Charlety Stadium before 17,873.
- April 27: London, England - The 1996 Challenge Cup tournament culminates in St Helens' 40–32 victory over Bradford Bulls in the final at Wembley Stadium before a crowd of 75,994.
- June 3: Sydney, Australia - The 1996 State of Origin series is wrapped up as New South Wales defeat Queensland 18–6 in Game II at the Sydney Football Stadium before a crowd of 41,955.
- June 26: Cardiff, Wales - The 1996 European Rugby League Championship is won by England who defeated Wales 26–12 at Cardiff Arms Park before a crowd of 5,245
- August 31: Salford, England - The 1996 Student Rugby League World Cup culminates in Australia's 28 - 16 defeat of Samoa
- September 29: Sydney, Australia - The 1996 ARL season culminates the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles' 20–8 grand final victory over the St. George Dragons at the Sydney Football Stadium before a crowd of 40,985
- The 1996 Queensland Cup Season is won by the Toowoomba Clydesdales
- Super League I ends with St. Helens being crowned champions for finishing on top of the League
- The Great Britain national team go on a their tour of the Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand.
- XXVI Olympic Games, held in Atlanta United States (July 20 – July 26)
- First European SC Championships, held in Riesa, Germany (December 13 – 15)
- Germany wins the most medals (39) and the most gold medals (14)
- December 1 – American swimmer Misty Hyman clocks 58:29 to break the world record in the women's 100m butterfly (short course)
- Grand Slam in tennis men's results:
- Grand Slam in tennis women's results:
- 1996 Summer Olympics
- Davis Cup final:
- France wins 3–2 over Sweden
- Fed Cup final:
- USA wins 5–0 over Spain
- Olympic Games Men's Competition: Spain
- Olympic Games Women's Competition: Netherlands
- 1996 Summer Olympics takes place in Atlanta, United States
- United States wins the most medals (101), and the most gold medals (44).
- Winter Asian Games held in Harbin, China
- Athletic competition in the Big 12 Conference is inaugurated with a football game between Kansas State University and Texas Tech University, in Manhattan, Kansas on August 31.
- DeLassus, David. "Kansas State University football records--1996". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- "Epsom Derby | History, Winners, & Facts | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 4 January 2022.