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Thoma back in game with Web

Becker, Bertelsmann, Pixelpark also partners in sports portal

BERLIN — Helmut Thoma, the former head of Germany’s RTL TV network, will soon be heading a new Web portal devoted to sports — and once again become a major competitor to ex-rival Leo Kirch, who already runs his own Sport1.de portal.

Thoma’s partners in Sportgate include former tennis star Boris Becker, Bertelsmann multimedia subsid Pixelpark and the German sports association Deutsche Sportbund (DSB).

May go public

With live Webcasts of soccer as well such lower-profile sports as swimming and fencing, Sportgate will be targeting the 26 million members of the various DSB groups and clubs. Company is reportedly looking at going public following its launch.

Sports is the third most lucrative category of online content, behind erotica and stock market info, say industry experts.

In addition to his new job, Thoma is also a government media adviser in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where he set up this year’s Cologne Screenings film market.

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