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Armstrong's Confession May Not Be Enough to Repair Brand

Ok, so now we've seen it. The Lance Armstrong confession — at least Part I of it.

Many believe it's an important first step for Armstrong in an effort to repair a severely damaged public image — although even he admitted to Oprah Winfrey that it's "too late". (Read More: Lance Armstrong Finally Admits to Doping)

But when it comes to reclaiming any semblance of a brand or respect in our commercial culture, it does not appear as if Armstrong made much progress.

"This guy doesn't have a chance of having an opportunity in the sports marketing world ever again," said Evan Morgenstein, who represents Olympic athletes in the marketing world. "This sets sports marketing back 20-25 years.

"I spent all day in PR offices all over New York City today, answering questions if my clients are clean. ... they're thinking everyone is dirty."

If this is a first step in a multi-year effort to re-establish credibility, it may be too early to completely write off the possibility. (Read More: Pete Rose on Lance Armstrong: 'Come Clean' Now )

However, if you assume that Armstrong can never earn money off his name ever again, what about the estimated $125 million fortune that he earned from his cycling and endorsements.

Oprah Winfrey speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas.
Getty Images
Oprah Winfrey speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas.

"I think he'll be lucky if he only loses 50-percent (of his wealth)," said sports economist Patrick Rishe. "Worst-case scenario, especially with the whistleblower lawsuit, it could approach his entire worth."

The whistleblower lawsuit involves possible fraud charges stemming from his sponsorship by the U.S. Postal Service. If triple damages were awarded, that could mean approximately $90 million.

Of course, there are a host of other financial issues he might face — from sponsors wanting bonus money back to possible lawsuits from people he slandered during his nearly two-decades long denial of performance enhancing drug use.

Ultimately, beyond the marketing angle, most people watched the interview and asked themselves the seemingly simple questions: Was Armstrong credible? Was he believable? Was he honest? (Read More: Lance Armstrong's Livestrong in Jeopardy? )

When it comes to that, there is a little more of a debate.

"He's always been someone who tried every angle to win, and I think he woke up and realized that everything that was important to him — his tour titles, his leadership and his foundation, his commercial sponsorships … [realized] that everything was gone," said Peter Flax, Editor in Chief of Bicycling Magazine. "This was the only and best choice for him."

"And even though I think it's calculating, I think in his heart he knew this was the right thing to do," added Flax.

Others weren't so magnanimous.

"Who could ever trust this guy again?" asked Evan Weinstein.

—By CNBC's Brian Shactman; Follow him on Twitter: @bshactman

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