When Brewer Rowe joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame nearly a decade ago as director of special events and assistant tournament director, he concedes he had a specific ambition in mind.
“It has been a goal of mine to be Tournament Director since I was hired back in 2012,” says Rowe. “It’s been a good challenge to get here and I’m excited to be able to have that title associated with my name.”
Officially named Tournament Director for the 2020 edition of the Hall of Fame Open, Rowe wasn’t able to realize his dream of overseeing play as the event that year was cancelled due to COVID-19. Since then, it has been a herculean task to bring this longstanding event back to the City by the Sea.
As Tournament Director, Rowe is responsible for all aspects of the tournament inclusive of player relations, operational logistics, safety and security, revenue, and much more. Of course, every one of those areas has an added level of challenge this year.
“It’s been two years in the making since we’ve hosted professional tennis back in Newport, so it has been a monumental preparation, to say the least,” says Rowe. “Since COVID hit in March 2020, we’ve been imagining every single hypothetical you can imagine with hosting a large-scale event.”
Rowe adds that he and his team members have had to pivot and be adaptable to what’s been put in front of them in terms of hosting an event of this magnitude, including planning for what was going to be a limited-capacity event just six weeks ago to an event without attendance restrictions this week.
“We have had good partners with the City of Newport and the State of Rhode Island in terms of putting on a safe, healthy event for everyone on site and for our local community and that remains priority number one.”
Rowe, a native of Middletown, Rhode Island, attended St. Michael’s School in Newport, St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, and earned a B.A. from the University of Vermont.
As a child, Rowe’s family would host tournament players in town for various Hall of Fame events, which made for some rather extraordinary memories.
“I specifically remember the Virginia Slims, when Newport hosted women and men’s tournaments back-to-back weeks. As a thank you to us for being player hosts, we were awarded tickets and we would come every day and cheer on our guests. I remember seeing Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert play and thinking, ‘this is pretty cool,’” says Rowe. “It was pretty special to have seen that with my parents as a kid in the 80s to where I am now as the person who gets to oversee the entire tournament. It’s pretty neat.”
International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin, who has served as Tournament Director since 2015, is now in the role of Tournament Chairman.
Martin, says Rowe’s promotion is an occasion for the tournament to flourish.
“Brewer has been the operational head of the Hall of Fame Open since long before I arrived in Newport in 2014,” says Martin. “His skill set is vast and strong in sport event leadership. This is an opportunity for Brewer to really shape a Hall of Fame Open that’s bigger, better and a more enjoyable experience for our fans and our players.”
For Rowe, the 2021 Hall of Fame Open is one that’s taken unprecedented consideration and organization-wide determination. “Ultimately, it’s going to be a different event than we’re typically used to hosting, but we have professional tennis back in Newport, which is what we want, and the spotlight will shine bright on us for the week ahead.
Prior to joining the International Tennis Hall of Fame team in 2012, Rowe had more than a decade of experience in marketing and management of large-scale sports events, specifically road races, triathlons, and professional golf tournaments. He was executive vice president of Eident Sports, a Providence, R.I.-based event management firm that specialized in road races, and prior to that he was tournament manager for the CVS Charity Classic, a PGA TOUR Challenge Series Event.
Rowe resides in Portsmouth with his wife Abby and daughters Adelaide and Evelyn.