The FIFA World Cup is undoubtedly the biggest competition on Earth. No other sporting event has ever created a buzz like the Soccer World Cup this year. We already know that in 2010, more than 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population – watched at least part of the World Cup. With an average of almost 200 million people watching each game, the eyes of the world truly are on soccer during the tournament. These numbers are likely to increase this year thanks to expanded TV and online coverage.

The football frenzy could be felt much before the event actually started. Google reported a 233 percent growth in soccer-related searches in the United States, compared to last year, and Twitter had already declared that the world cup would be the most tweeted event ever.

With the increasing adoption of smartphones and tablets, fans are seamlessly moving across screens to interact with media and consume information. This year, it’s expected that two out of three American soccer fans will use their smartphone or tablet to enhance their World Cup experience. And more than half of fans that watch videos of games, event highlights or player/manager/coach interviews, do so via a mobile device. According to reports, 63% of soccer searches came through mobile devices during recent UEFA Champions League games, up from 18% during the 2010 World Cup. A key part of any marketing strategy to reach World Cup fans must thus include mobile.

Brands and retailers have already realized this fact. Thus eMarketer’s forecast that $56 billion (45%) of ad spend will be spent online compared to $68.5 billion (55%) on TV, re-emphasizes this increasingly ‘mobile’ world cup trend. The tech-savvy soccer audience of today will not stick to one source for viewing or to gain information about the world cup. For brands to be effective, it is imperative to invest across multiple channels and create engaging content. Brands like Adidas and Nike are doing exactly this – succeeding in creating a true feeling of participation in the games.

The infographic below shows why this world cup is being touted as ‘truly mobile’ and the most ‘digital’ world cup ever.It also contains tips on how broadcasters, stadiums and teams can use the sweeping advances in mobile technology to make the most of this increasingly ‘mobile’ World Cup opportunity.