From social media to augmented realities, technology is shaping people's lives in unprecedented ways--and perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of sports.

As technologies infuse every aspect of the sporting world, athletes, athleticism, and sports viewership are all changing in remarkable ways. Here's a look at just five of the many ways in which tech will influence the future of sports .

The bar for athletic performance will continue to rise.

Thanks to wearable tech , athletes can now embed tiny GPS, accelerometers, and other data collection tools in their jerseys and/or cleats. These tools track everything from distances run to heart rate, speed, jump height, fatigue, overtraining, hydration levels, muscle activation, respiratory rhythms, neurological activity, sleep patterns , and other health markers. Meanwhile, the prevalence of high-speed and high-definition cameras allows athletes and teams to record their movements and training sessions in unprecedented detail, thereby facilitating in-depth reviews of athletic performance.

Together, all of this data enables athletes and coaches to develop more effective training regimens, dial in their form, identify factors that enhance or diminish athletic performance, and so on--all of which has the potential to raise the bar on athletic performance.

Injury prevention and treatment will become more effective and refined.

Tech is making sports safer in a number of ways. For example, the evolution of smart helmets and other wearable tech allows for better monitoring of potentially traumatic injuries, which paves the way for more immediate and effective medical care. It also provides an opportunity to collect data about collisions and identify patterns for better sports injury prevention.

Meanwhile, injury rehabilitation is also getting a boost from tech. For example, anti-gravity treadmills enable athletes to maintain at least some level of physical fitness while recovering from injuries that might be aggravated by weight-bearing activities, while research suggests utilizing VR (virtual reality) gaming technologies might assist with the treatment of neck and spinal injuries.

Referees will get a boost from tech.

We've all witnessed the poor referee who makes a call that's loathed by one or the other team's fan base and is personally pilloried as a result. Advancements in tech may offer these hapless refs some relief. New technologies--such as 360-degree cameras and FIFA's goal-line monitors--will take some pressure off referees and ensure greater accuracy while adjudicating sports.

Athletes, protégés, and fans will interact with each other in new and exciting ways.

Technologies such as the internet and cryptocurrencies are decentralizing the world of sports in several ways, thereby facilitating unprecedented relationships between athletes, aspiring athletes, and fans.

For example, 433token plans to offer opportunities for some of the world's greatest soccer players to mentor up to five youth talents at a time. These mentorships will be sponsored by soccer fans who are invested in cultivating the next generation of talent. It's a unique platform that will open up new opportunities for aspiring soccer players to apprentice under some of the world's best players--and for fans to have a say in who becomes the next major player in their favorite sport. This type of interaction wouldn't be possible without advancements in tech.

The viewer experience will be transformed.

Not only will tech enable sports fans to support the next generation of talent, but it's also changing the way fans experience athletic competitions. For example:

  • Fans will continue to consume sports content in more dispersed ways. Rather than sitting down at a designated time to watch the only game on TV, fans can now live stream all kinds of sports-related content from anywhere (and at any time) on their mobile phones, tablets, and other devices.
  • More and more sports broadcasters are offering virtual and augmented reality experiences to transform the way fans interact with sports content and to help fans feel like part of the action (even from their couches at home). Down the road, it's possible sports fans might even partake in virtual experiences meant to mimic being in a stadium or bar with other fans.

From VR-infused sports viewing experiences to safer helmets and enhanced athletic data and performance, technology is radically altering the world of sports. As tech continues to evolve, the barriers between fans, athletes, and teams will likely continue to flatten out so that sports invite more cross-platform participation than ever before.