Kansas Athletics to Purchase First Serve Tennis Facility

Jan. 29, 2010


Kansas Athletics will purchase the First Serve Tennis facility in Lawrence in a transaction that will become official next Monday, February 1. KAI will rename the facility the Jayhawk Tennis Facility.

Kansas Athletics has sent a letter to all members of First Serve informing them of the change of ownership.

KAI has agreed to pay Mike Elwell, owner and founder of First Serve (formerly Sport-to-Sport) a total of approximately $3.1 million. In addition, Elwell will provide to KAI all information regarding membership (150 members) and aid in the transition.

“It has been a wonderful experience seeing First Serve grow from its infancy in 2006 to a facility that houses hundreds of junior, adult and senior players,” said KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins in a letter to the club’s members. “We have had a wonderful partnership with Mike Elwell. His vision of indoor tennis in Lawrence helped the University solve a longstanding Title IX deficiency.

“Life at First Serve will continue,” Perkins said, “and we will make this transition as smooth as possible. All of your classes, court time, leagues, etc. will continue as scheduled and we look forward to the sustained growth of the club. The facility will have a new name, but the staff will continue to take pride in making this the most service-oriented club, with the best on- and off-court offerings around. We hope that your unwavering support continues, because we are confident this move will be the best for the longevity of the tennis community in Lawrence and for your overall club experience.”

KAI has been the primary tenant of this semi-private club since 2006, when it entered into a contractual relationship with Elwell. The agreement provided the KU women’s tennis team with an indoor facility in which to conduct practice and matches. Previously the team practiced indoors in Topeka or Kansas City, and outdoors, weather permitting, at the Robinson Gymnasium courts across the street from Allen Fieldhouse.

By moving to the Jayhawk Tennis Facility, KAI was able to release court time at the KU courts and enhance recruiting efforts. To promote the new facility, KAI has financed several additions, including a team locker room, and upgraded and constructed several indoor and outdoor courts.

The current facility consists of the following:

  • Six outdoor courts
  • Spectator viewing
  • Workout facilities
  • KU tennis team locker room.