Speculation is rife that ZEE Network is set to clinch the India cricket telecast partner deal with Nimbus for the next four years.

According to various press reports today, bets are in full swing for ZEE Network to land the deal, which Nimbus won yesterday for all India cricket matches played domestically and internationally.

With the much talked about England tour of India looming (begins on 1st March), an announcement by Nimbus’ Chairman Harish Thawani on Wednesday 22nd February will end all rumours.

Kolkata’s The Telegraph newspaper has already quotes ZEE’s rivals expressing “suspicion that Nimbus will resell the rights to ZEE.” The paper cites unconfirmed reports that ESPN-Star Sports and some other bidders were huddled in strategy meetings over the matter.

Let’s not forget that ZEE had initially won the India rights deal back in 2004. However, legal wrangling between the BCCI, ZEE and ESPN STAR over numerous issues resulted in the then BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya cancelling the tender.

Furthermore, UK rights for the upcoming England / India series have reached an all time high. Nimbus has unsurprisingly hiked its fees for the series. BSkyB, which was disqualified from the bids for the UK rights yesterday has shown a keen interest in the series.

Previously BSkyB has paid just over 1 million for matches involving England and India but this time round Nimbus is asking for an astronomical 5 million for the series, according to The Telegraph (UK). Even the BBC is said to be in talks with Nimbus for the rights. Both parties are facing stiff competition from major Asian players – ZEE, Sony and ARY Digital.

Asian channels in the UK are dependent on subscription revenue and acquisition of India cricket will no doubt prove a huge boost in advertising and subscription revenue for whoever wins the rights.

Biz Asia will be covering all the latest news in the lead up to Wednesday’s announcement. Keep it here.