Jackson Walker Coordinates Deal to Transform Dell Diamond Into Major Filming Location for ‘Fear the Walking Dead’


Working on behalf of Ryan Sanders Baseball, L.P., Jackson Walker partners Brad Knippa and Emilio Nicolas successfully negotiated an agreement with the production company for AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead to transform Dell Diamond into the post-apocalyptic world featured in the current season of the hit television series.

Dell Diamond is the home of the Triple-A Minor League Baseball team the Round Rock Express. During the off-season, the baseball stadium was reconfigured to serve as a primary setting for the series’ fourth season. To create the post-apocalyptic appearance, production designers converted luxury suite boxes into apartments, sprayed chemicals to make the grass die out, used the stadium’s mascot as a scarecrow, and set up a crop field in the center of the stadium – all in secret to avoid potential leaks from the set that would spoil what the network and producers have in store for audiences.

Once filming wrapped in early March, RS3 commissioned one of its turf crews to bring in over 120,000 square feet of TifTuf Certified Bermudagrass sod and worked around the clock to bring the world-class baseball stadium back to life in time for the first pitch of the 2018 season. A Round Rock Express press release noted that more than 1,750 labor hours, 2,800 combined pounds of fertilizer, and 23 tons of sand were needed to rebuild the playing surface and berms. RS3, a company co-founded by baseball legend and businessman Nolan Ryan, provides hospitality and facility management services to spectator sports venues across the industry.

“The honor was all ours when Ryan Sanders Baseball tapped us to help negotiate a deal that would turn its first-rate baseball stadium into a fictitious world for the small screen.”

“The honor was all ours when Ryan Sanders Baseball tapped us to help negotiate a deal that would turn its first-rate baseball stadium into a fictitious world for the small screen,” said Emilio, a partner in Jackson Walker’s Intellectual Property practice and co-chair of its Entertainment Transactions section. “This project is a perfect example of how Jackson Walker’s entertainment practice expands on the other practice areas, including intellectual property, corporate, and real estate. We have the resources, capabilities, and experience to guide our clients through transactions in any industry, including Hollywood.”

“To partner with AMC and the series’ producers on this project was a great opportunity, and we are appreciative of Jackson Walker’s help making the deal happen,” said Reese Ryan, co-owner and CEO of Ryan Sanders Baseball.

Brad, a partner in Jackson Walker’s Corporate & Securities practice and lead partner for the Ryan family’s matters, affirmed that, “Jackson Walker has been honored to represent the Ryan family and their various businesses, including the Round Rock Express, Nolan Ryan Beef, RS3, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf of Texas, and R Bank of Texas, and we were pleased to expand the scope of our representation by leveraging our entertainment, intellectual property, corporate, and real estate law experience in the negotiation of the Fear the Walking Dead agreement.”

A founder of the Ryan family enterprises, Nolan said, “Jackson Walker has been an important player in furthering our success, and we’re pleased to have them on our team.”

Established by Nolan and Houston businessman Don Sanders, Ryan Sanders Baseball is the ownership group of the Round Rock Express, Round Rock Baseball Club, Ryan Sanders Entertainment, and RS3.

For more information about the Firm’s experience, view Jackson Walker’s Entertainment Transactions, Intellectual Property, and Corporate & Securities practice pages.


Meet Brad

Corporate & Securities partner Bradley S. Knippa has represented private real estate investment funds, private equity funds, strategic buyers and sellers, family offices, and entrepreneurs in connection with more than 150 merger and acquisition, investment, or divestiture transactions with values between $1 million and $230 million. Brad also serves as de facto general counsel for many of his operating company clients, providing advice on a variety of corporate and transactional matters, including distribution and marketing agreements, key agreements with customers and vendors, management, consulting and service agreements, and other commercial agreements.

Meet Emilio

Entertainment and intellectual property law partner Emilio B. Nicolas is an experienced content and information attorney. His practice includes entertainment, media, technology, and intellectual property litigation and transactional work, with a particular emphasis on copyright, trademark, and privacy law. When Emilio is not advocating for his clients and their intellectual property and business rights in court, he is representing and counseling his clients on intellectual property and media rights management, clearance, and licensing matters, entertainment and media industry transactions, and internet privacy and compliance matters.

Meet JW

Jackson Walker has more than 130 years of experience serving clients in key practices and industries throughout Texas, the United States, and internationally. Since our founding in 1887, Jackson Walker attorneys have represented some of the most influential companies in the state in industries that shaped the course of Texas history, including railroads, the media, oil and gas exploration, and technology. With more than 350 attorneys in seven offices, we’re one of the largest firms in the state and are able to provide excellent value for clients and maintain the nimbleness to adapt to their needs.