Faced with a drop in overall ticket sales and new expenses relating to its proposed merger with Live Nation, Ticketmaster Entertainment reported a huge...

Faced with a drop in overall ticket sales and new expenses relating to its proposed merger with Live Nation, Ticketmaster Entertainment reported a huge 70 percent drop in net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2009, compared to the same period the year before.

The company said its net income for the quarter was $6.9 million, down from $23 million in 2008, in part due to the weak economy and about $8.5 million in costs associated with the proposed merger. Last week, Live Nation said it had spent $14.9 million during the quarter on merger-related expenses.

Ticketmaster’s overall revenues for the quarter were down 7 percent to $355.1 million, and its ticketing revenues, which represent the lion’s share of its business, were down 18 percent compared to 2008 to $311.9 million.

In a prepared statement, Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff tried to paint a positive picture for the quarter and said the company was “making excellent progress” in improving the business and customer experience through “better tools, information and services.” Azoff was very visible in the early weeks following the merger announcement – making several statements against the secondary ticket market – but he has been much less visible and vocal in recent months.

“The Ticketmaster and Front Line businesses are coming together well, and we’re seeing both the artists and consumers we serve beginning to embrace innovations like paperless ticketing and all-in pricing,” Azoff said. His artist management company, Front Line Management, was acquired by Ticketmaster in 2008.

“Of course we’re moving forward on these initiatives during a tough economy and that creates its challenges, but our results show we are balancing these investments in our capabilities and services with good cost management,” he added.